Premier League

Hazard would welcome Rooney

Wayne Rooney (R) sitting alongside Man United teammate Patrice Evra.
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Eden Hazard says Wayne Rooney would be a "brilliant signing" for Chelsea and would welcome him at Stamford Bridge.

Rooney returned to England from Bangkok last week after suffering a hamstring injury which ruled him out of Manchester United's tour of Asia and Australia.

United boss David Moyes has repeatedly insisted the England international is not for sale after Jose Mourinho expressed his admiration for the striker, sentiments Hazard echoed.

"Rooney would be a brilliant signing," Hazard said. "He's a great player who has the experience and he's still only young, at 27.

"He's got a few years left to play. But it's not up to me. It's not my decision."

Meanwhile, Hazard revealed that Mourinho once tried to sign him while he was at Lille.

"He told me he'd asked Lille, but I wanted to stay there until I was 21 and develop my game," said Hazard, who moved to Stamford Bridge last summer.

"I must have been 19 or 20 at the time. Real Madrid is a wonderful team, but I had so much still to prove in the French league. I stayed because I didn't want to leave too early."

Now 22, Hazard is seeking to improve on an impressive first season in England under Mourinho.

"He told us all what he expected of us, what he wants to see," Hazard said.

"To me he told me to be ambitious with my game, to try things and that, if I do that, I can do something special this year.

"I told him I wanted to do myself justice, to do as well as I can, and that is all he wants to see from all of us. I hope it will end up being productive."

Hazard is one member of a Belgian core of young talent at Chelsea, and the playmaker believes Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne, who are in first-team contention after spending last season on loan, can make an impact.

On Lukaku, Hazard said: "He has a real chance. What do you ask of a young striker? To score goals - and he can do that."

On De Bruyne, Hazard added: "It's a pleasure to play with him. It's great he's staying with us this season."

Another Belgian could follow if rumored interest in Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke comes to fruition.

Hazard said: "Benteke is my friend. We get on very well. He had an unbelievable first season for a young striker in the Premier League. His dream is to play even higher. I think he's got all the attributes to do well at a big club."

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