Moaning Gunners still harp on about the game at Old Trafford which ended their impressive unbeaten run. United scored two goals, whilst Arsenal could only manage to create one shot on target, yet still they argue they were hard done by. The first goal was a penalty, which Ruud van Nistelrooy slotted away, redeeming himself from the prior last minute penalty miss against Arsenal. Rooney broke in to the box, Sol Campbell stuck his leg out, and Rooney ended up on the floor. Replays show no contact was made.
He was an 18 year old lad back then and since then we’ve seen Rooney rule out that kind of behaviour, at times, to his detriment. There have been several occasions for United when Rooney has been fouled, but has chosen to bulldoze through, and isn’t always rewarded for that. The best example of this attitude can be illustrated by his sending off for England at the last World Cup. Rooney was fouled several times in the lead up to the red card, but instead of hitting the deck, he carried on getting up and trying to win the ball. Had he gone down under the first foul, the whole situation could have been avoided. (However, I’m not sure if that would have been for the best of Manchester United. Ronaldo became a hate figure in this country because of the sending off, and without the taunts and jeers he endured each week, without the desire to prove people wrong and shut them up with his football displays, would we see the player we have in Ronaldo now?)
With time running out for United against Spurs, Rooney burst in to the box, taking the ball past Dawson, before throwing himself on to the ground. This wasn’t the Rooney we know and love. He had got himself in to a great goalscoring opportunity, but instead of taking that, he cheated and tried to win us a penalty. I imagine this came about from the pressure of United needing a goal, and the ever increasing pressure he is putting on himself to play well. Regardless, these are reasons, not excuses, as there is no excuse for it.
Rooney picked up his fifth yellow card of the season for the dive, meaning he will now miss derby day. Missing derby day should be punishment enough, but we all know this isn’t any derby day. Sunday marks a momentous occasion for United, the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, which is something that has shaped our club and fans in unmeasureable ways. To play a part in that game, with the survivors of the crash as well as the family members of those who lost their lives watching, would be an incredible honour. As revealed earlier this week, the team has been given somewhat of an education on the Busby Babes, aided by visits from Sir Bobby Charlton to talk to the players, means their understanding of the disaster and the strong connections they will feel with the former representatives of the club, will be at its highest.
The Times reported on Charlton’s trip to talk to the United players. “After he spoke he sat down with the players in a darkened room and watched a DVD that the club had made about Munich. A tear came to his eye, but he was not necessarily alone as the scale of the disaster dawned on Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest. Sir Alex Ferguson said “you could have heard a pin drop”, while even Gary Neville, part of the furniture at Old Trafford, admitted that he had never heard Charlton speak “at such close quarters and with such intimacy”.”
Because of Rooney’s stupidity, he will now miss out on his place in this historic occasion, and it is a painful lesson for him to learn. He only has himself to blame though, and I hope the next time he charges in to the box, he makes the right decision.
What do you think of Rooney’s dive?