Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Thursday warned that players who aren't automatic picks for their clubs could miss out on the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil next year.
The Chelsea boss issued the warning just after Manchester United rejected a bid from the Blues for 27-year-old Wayne Rooney, who has been told by new manager David Moyes that Robin van Persie is the club's first-choice striker.
"Normally for a player to be selected to play for his country, the player must be a first choice player in the club," Mourinho told reporters in Malaysia during Chelsea's brand-boosting tour in Asia.
"So any player that wants to go to the World Cup, if they are second choice in their club they are in trouble. They are in trouble," he warned.
Earlier, approximately 100 fans gathered outside the team's hotel to welcome the players on their arrival from Bangkok. The Blues-adoring supporters held up a "Welcome" banner and yelled: "We love you Chelsea." Chelsea will play Malaysia's national selection on Sunday before heading to Jakarta.
A Chelsea official told reporters before the press conference that 50-year-old Mourinho would not answer any questions related to a failed bid for Rooney. The England forward has two years left on his contract with Manchester United but has been pushing for a move.
During the conference Mourinho said that with the FIFA World Cup a year away, a player picked regularly for his team would obviously stand a better chance of representing his country in Brazil.
"He must play very regular for the club and that is the big motivation if they are thinking about the World Cup," he said. Mourinho has previously stated that striker Rooney was Chelsea's only remaining summer transfer target for the club.
News reports had stated that Rooney wanted to leave Old Trafford this summer, identifying Chelsea as the club he wants to join, due to a lack of pitch-time at United last season. The English international, who has been the subject of an inquiry from Arsenal, believes he is at the peak of his career and is unwilling to become a back-up player, particularly in a FIFA World Cup year.