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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said he will not stand in the way of captain Wayne Rooney should he express a desire to leave the club and join the Chinese Super League.

Rooney, 31, became United's all-time record goalscorer when he netted a last-minute equaliser against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on 21 January, overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton's tally of 249 goals for the club.

But he has lost his first-team spot at Old Trafford after a sluggish start to the season and has been limited to substitute appearances.

Mourinho said he would like to continue working with Rooney over the next few seasons but that he would understand if the England international opted to make a big-money move to China.

"I don't know, it's up to him," the former Chelsea manager was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "I don't like to be critical of players who decide to go to China. It's their life, it's their organisation of their life, their organisation of their career.

"The money is huge. The experience can also be interesting.

"I know some of my colleagues think they are more important than they are and think they can interfere in the lives of other people, but I'm not that sort of guy.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney, 31, has scored 250 goals in all competitions for Manchester United Getty Images

"Everybody is responsible for their own life. I'm not critical with anyone.

"To be honest, in Wayne's case, I have no idea because he has never mentioned it to me."

Mourinho went on to say that Rooney had earned the right to make a decision on his future after his many years of service to United.

"I think the future belongs to him and what he wants in his career. The way he wants to end it, the way he wants to enjoy the last part of his, that belongs to him," he said.

"I think he has more to give us. He owns his career. It is him, his family and his decision, but of course, yes, I see him making an important contribution for us."