Jose Mourinho has been impressed with Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney's response to being dropped, club sources have told ESPN FC.
Rooney's Old Trafford future has appeared to be in some jeopardy this season, with sources telling ESPN FC last month that manager Mourinho had told the player's camp that he could not guarantee the 31-year-old regular first-team football and that selling him was not out of the question.
That situation appeared to be exacerbated by recent photographs printed in newspapers along with reports of Rooney drinking into the early hours in the England team hotel after playing in his country's win over Scotland in their Nov. 11 World Cup qualifier.
However, sources close to United told ESPN FC that Mourinho has been thoroughly impressed with Rooney's professionalism and feels he has responded to getting dropped in an exemplary fashion. Rooney has not complained publicly or even made any disgruntlement known, but instead worked harder.
Sources added that Mourinho is very happy with the player's level of application and attitude.
Rooney scored one goal in Thursday night's 4-0 Europa League win over Feyenoord to become United's top scorer in European competition. He is also two goals away from breaking Bobby Charlton's club-record haul of 249 strikes.
His United teammate Phil Jones insists the performance in Europe on Thursday was evidence of how Rooney can ultimately rise above his recent troubles.
"It's been difficult for him but it's water off a duck's back for him," the defender said.
"He's dealt with that throughout his career. He's shown that it doesn't bother him. He put in a good performance and got his goal."
Regarding Rooney breaking one club record and being on the verge of setting another, Jones added: "I'm buzzing for him.
"He's a world-class player, has been for many years, a legend at the club. I'm just delighted for him; he's a great lad off the pitch as well.
"I hope he scores in the first minute on Sunday. He's got all the talent in the world so let's hope he keeps scoring the goals."
Information from Press Association Sport was used in this report