Every man and his dog seems to have an opinion on Wayne Rooney and his temper after he got booked in a friendly.
Wayne is experienced now. His disciplinary record has been magnificent over the last couple of years. Since the incident in Germany I think he has done so well to get to where he is now. e has played one game, I am sure he’s had a lot worse from referees in Premier League games, but being here it is magnified because of the World Cup.
In England you can get away with it. But anywhere else in the world you can’t. I had the same problem in Spain. You open your mouth to breathe and you get a yellow card. You’re not playing in England now, you play here under other rules. Don’t talk, just turn around, think the refeee is crazy and go. But if you say something or gesture, there’s a problem. I prefer the English way; it’s an emotional game. I always talked in the field too and it cost me a lot of yellow cards. Xavi from Barcelona never fouls, but he got five yellow cards for talking. It’s like that, you have to adjust yourself.
Wayne is an experienced player and I’m sure there are loads of teams that have tried to do that in the past. He’ll be OK and it will be no problem, I’m sure everything will go well.
I think Wayne’s temper is a good thing. When you’ve got that fire in your belly as a player, if you take that away from him then he won’t be the same player.
We have seen in the last two or three years Wayne has grown up a lot. At times we could have done with a bit more of that aggression in the first half. I understand what people are saying, but he gave everyone a lift and we could have done with Wayne on the pitch in the first half to give everyone a kick up the backside.
If it was me as his manager, the only reason I would be annoyed would be that in another situation, Wayne Rooney could have got himself sent off. Rooney is such a terrific player that you always need him playing. But would I want him to change the way he plays or his desire? No chance. But Rooney’s game is all about being competitive, determined and if you take that out of his game then he’s not the same player.
The worry though is that if he does that again in a World Cup then he could get sent off. That is something that players have to think about and deal with themselves. It’s the players who have to channel their temper, their energy and the fire in their belly in the right direction rather than take out their frustration on the officials.
That’s what I mean when I say my only annoyance would be that he gets so upset when things go against him. In fairness, he’ll know that. It’s better it happens now. He has dealt with things much better recently and you can see that in the way he has been playing. He’s been superb for his club and is in a great place to keep on improving.
Wayne Rooney is a top, top player. To win the World Cup, you need all of your top players firing, determined and at their best. Fabio Capello will know that. That’s why I don’t believe a word of it if anyone’s suggesting that he’s upset with Wayne Rooney. Of course he wouldn’t want him to get booked, but he will love the passion and commitment from the player. But where England, Rooney and the rest of the players must be aware is that in every World Cup, the officials clamp down on something.
Whether it’s tackling from behind, two-footed tackles or back chat to referees, we know from experience that there will be something. There’s always something new in every tournament that sees players booked or get sent off and then get suspended for games. That’s something that you have to look out for because if it’s swearing or back chat to referees then it’s so important that the players keep their discipline.
If I was an American defender I’d belt him one. The Americans have already said they are going to wind him up and if I was playing against him I would do the same as well. I would stand on his toes, poke him, pinch him and do anything to wind him up – even belt him one because his temperament concerns me. If you are successful at winding up Rooney you have a really good chance of not only stopping him, but England as well. Something can always happen with him, something could snap.