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Mata models retro United kit

Toe Poke

Jose Mourinho hails Wayne Rooney after he levels Man United goals record

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said that Wayne Rooney's "best day will arrive" and it is "just a question of when," after the forward equalled the club's all-time goal scoring record.

Rooney moved level with Sir Bobby Charlton by scoring his 249th goal for the club in the 4-0 victory over Reading in the FA Cup third round match at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The United captain scored with his knee in the seventh minute to give his dominant side a 1-0 lead and they went on to outclass their Championship opponents.

Manchester UnitedManchester United
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Speaking about Rooney at his postmatch news conference, Mourinho said: "It is not the best day for him. The best day will arrive. It is just a question of when.

"It's amazing. Everyone knows who Sir Bobby Charlton is and what he means for the history of the club and English football. For Rooney to be level is fantastic."

Reading manager Jaap Stam also paid tribute to the United forward's feat, saying: "Wayne has been a great player. He works very hard for the team. You saw that again."

United's other goals came from Marcus Rashford, who scored twice, and Anthony Martial. Rashford had not scored since the 4-1 win over Leicester on Sept. 24 -- having not been regularly deployed in a central striker role this season, unlike the end of the previous campaign under former manager Louis van Gaal.

Discussing Rashford, Mourinho said: "I spoke to him at half-time and said I don't care about goals, because he had big responsibility in breaking the defensive line. But for him, as an attacking player to score, it means happiness and confidence."

Martial has now scored in successive appearances, having also fired in during the 2-1 home win over Middlesbrough on New Year's Eve. The Frenchman had not featured in the 2-0 win at West Ham United two days later though.

Explaining his management of the player, Mourinho said: "He played very well against Middlesbrough. But he had not played for a long time so we felt that, 48 hours later against West Ham, it was better not to start. Today he was fresh. He played very well again."

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.


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