Belfast Telegraph

Get ready for Wayne's World Cup, says Jose Mourinho

Mourinho expects United's failure to spur Roo

By Glenn Moore

had it not been for his wife's advice, Jose Mourinho might be in Rio de Janeiro right now, preparing to lead England into the World Cup.

But Matilde Mourinho pointed out he would be bored senseless by the longueurs involved in managing a national team and, at the 11th hour, he withdrew.

Had Mourinho taken the job it is a safe bet John Terry would be in the team, and so would Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United striker has come in for uncommon criticism in the build-up to the tournament in Brazil, notably from former colleague Paul Scholes, but Mourinho is as much a fan of Rooney now as he was when trying to prise him away from Old Trafford last summer.

"I don't agree with Scholes," said Mourinho. "I think Wayne is right when he says this is 'his' World Cup, it is the right moment [for him]. He is not a kid anymore, he is not an old player, he is in what I call 'the best age'.

"I think it is his World Cup. I think he also has a role as a leader in the team, a bit similar to what he had at United this season. I think he is ready to cope with this.

"Maybe the fact that the season was not good with the club, maybe that can also play a positive role, a role of somebody who is a natural winner, somebody that every season normally wins something.

"The fact that this season [he won] nothing I think can play a positive role in his ambition, in his anger to succeed. I have faith that he can do it."

Mourinho had less certainty over England's prospects. "If England are world champions, it is not a surprise for me.

"If England are knocked out in the group phase, it is not a surprise for me. England are the kind of team where I am always expecting something good, but I am never surprised when things go wrong.

"When people speak sometimes about there not being enough quality in the team I always disagree. I remember the England team in 2004, the European Championships in Portugal.

"People were saying that the team was not good enough but it was full of top players from the top teams in the country. Now you have some boys who are not in the top teams, but you have players from Chelsea, from United, City, Arsenal, Liverpool.

"You have quality, you have experience, you have international experience, you have everything, so why not be a candidate?

"When I was almost, almost, almost England manager I was asking myself all these questions and I couldn't answer."

Maybe, Mourinho added, it was because the press and public do not unite behind the team, but instead are frequently critical or still blinded by club loyalties.

"In Portugal there is a period of complete support. Even if you don't agree you close your mouth, the team is the team.

"The moment the team is out – let's go and kill. I'm not sure with the mentality in this country why people are willing to be like that."

Mourinho came close to making the challenge of winning the World Cup with England his own in 2007 after Steve McClaren was fired.

He was living in England but out of work and barred from joining another English club under the terms of his departure from Chelsea. So he was tempted.

"At that time I had no job and I was at home for three months already after I left Chelsea.

"I wanted the job, because of the prestige, because I want to stay in England, because I couldn't get an English club for two years because of my contract. So I had reasons to accept.

"Another reason to accept was Frank Lampard, John Terry, Joe Cole saying: 'come, come, come, everybody wants you. The guys from the other clubs, from Manchester, from Liverpool, they call us and say, 'tell your boss to come, blah-blah-blah',' so I have lots of positive things to push me.

"But my wife said 'it is not a job for you, what will you do during the week? I said 'I'll go to see the players training. I will ask permission to go with them and to have individual coaching with them.'

"But she was saying 'no matches, it's not for you'."

She was right. "I cannot wait two years for a big competition," Mourinho admitted. "I cannot endure two years playing against Kazakhstan, San Marino."

Picking up a pen and paper, he made as if he is about to sign, and said: "I was this close. This close. But it was not a job for me seven years ago. It is not a job for me now.

"I don't think it's a job for me in seven years. It's a job in 15 years, but not seven."

Belfast Telegraph


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