Man United skipper Wayne Rooney has been linked with an exit from Old Trafford and his agent’s presence in China has also heightened the speculations that the forward may leave the club in the coming days.

United boss Jose Mourinho has also refused to play down the speculations, signalling the end of Rooney’s United career but the Portuguese coach maintained that the club’s cult hero will not be “pushed out” of the club.

The 31-year-old striker had previously reiterated his desire to end his career at the English club when his contract expires in 2019 and that can only be possible if he is still wanted at United.

He has endured limited playing time since the arrival of Mourinho last summer and has managed just three starts since December 17. Rooney remains a United legend as well as their top scorer and that cannot be taking away from him.

The goals may not have been forthcoming this term but his presence is still very much needed in the team. Mourinho and United might be making a mistake in letting him leave.

His presence cannot be over-emphasized. Where the goals have not been forthcoming, the assists have proved vital, with five in the Premier League from his 17 appearances of which he started just eight. No other United player has had more this season.

And there are notions  – which has been unnecessarily hyped by the media – that dip in form has been as a result of his age. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proved that, that is no excuse. The 35-year-old has been impressive since his free summer transfer to Old Trafford.

Besides, his leadership ability is still very important for the club. There is possible departures of Michael Carrick, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ibrahimovic at the end of next season. The current crop of young player needs the presence of a leader figure like that of Rooney.