Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is set to drop captain Wayne Rooney from the starting XI for the clash against Leicester City on 24 September, according to reports.

The England skipper struggled to make a telling contribution in the 3-1 defeat against at Vicarage Road as United crashed to their third straight defeat in all competitions.

The Sun says United players were left shocked by Mourinho's public criticism in the post-match press conference at Watford.

Left-back Luke Shaw was singled out by Mourinho for being at fault for the Hornets' second goal, scored by Juan Zuniga.

The 21-year-old picked up a groin injury during the match and was taken off two minutes after Zuniga scored.

Mourinho has reportedly warned his players that they are playing for their futures at the club ahead of the January transfer window.

"The mystique about Mourinho has gone – it just feels like another manager passing through," a United source told the Sun.

"[Sir Alex Ferguson] would never go public. He always kept it in-house."

Wayne Rooney
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney struggled to influence proceedings against Watford Getty Images

Rooney's performance against Watford has drawn heavy criticism from fans and pundits alike, with former Celtic striker Chris Sutton calling for him to be dropped.

"If Pep Guardiola was the manager of Manchester United, Wayne Rooney would be dropped immediately," he told the Daily Mail.

"Rooney is a problem for both Jose Mourinho and England manager Sam Allardyce. Putting it simply, there are better players in his position for both club and country now.

"Mourinho has got to be brave enough to leave Rooney out. United have lacked pace, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the sort of striker who will move in behind the defence and Rooney is no longer a No 10 who does that.

"The problems really all come down to Rooney. He is the major issue here. If you leave him out it gives you far more options."