Duncan White has written an article in The Telegraph which is intended to champion Wayne Rooney. He talks about what a mature man he has become over the past year, which is nice to read, but the foundations for this article are all flawed.

“This time last year, against Sunday’s opponents Fulham, Wayne Rooney was sent off for mockingly applauding the referee, Phil Dowd.”

1. Phil Dowd booked Wayne Rooney for throwing the ball away? Throwing the ball in the direction at the referee? Who knows. United took a quick freekick from the wrong place, Dowd wasn’t happy, so Rooney, who was obviously pissed off with this picky ref, threw the ball back with impressive accuracy to where it had to be retaken from. Because he loves the celebrity of it all, Dowd opted to show Rooney a second yellow and send him off. In the dying minutes of an important game, why would Rooney “throw the ball away”? That doesn’t make any sense. But Rooney was booked regardless. When you consider Andre Marriner claimed he saw no problem with Steven Gerrard sticking his fingers up at him and telling him to fuck off, it makes Dowd’s decision even more ridiculous.

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“As if to punctuate his petulance he punched the corner flag as he trundled off.”

2. What is petulant about punching a corner flag in frustration? A big song and dance was made about this time in the media and I didn’t understand it then either. Rooney just got sent off for nothing, he was rightly infuriated and he released some of that frustration by taking it out on a corner flag. Big fucking deal.

“He has approached his game with more maturity and, perhaps because he becomes less frustrated playing at centre-forward, those angry explosions have disappeared. Rooney has not been sent off since that afternoon at Craven Cottage.”

3. Wayne Rooney has received two red cards in his six year career with Manchester United. The first came when he was a teenager, with another limelight seeking referee, who sent Rooney off for sarcastically applauding the decision to book him. The ref had ignored a foul seconds before and Rooney went for retribution and paid the price. Given that Rooney has been awarded two red cards in his time with us, one of which was an entirely ridiculous decision by Dowd and the other for his immaturity when he was a teenager, it doesn’t come as much surprise that he hasn’t been sent off since that game against Fulham.

Come on Duncan, you’re paid good money, so at least bother to take the time to get your story straight.

[edit]The headline has changed and Duncan has been in touch. Scott, you’re right, of course. Dumb mistake on my part – I wasn’t at the Fulham game and must have somehow conflated the incident with the Villarreal one.[/edit]