England’s final warm up game before kicking off their World Cup campaign could have easily seen striker Wayne Rooney red carded – and it may have done him the world of good. Referee Jeff Selogilwe called him a foul mouthed liability in the 3-0 defeat of local club side Platinum Stars after Selogilwe booked the super striker for swearing saying “Rooney insulted me, he said ‘F*** you”
“He must learn to control his temper. He could get sent off in the World Cup especially if he uses this kind of language” Selogilwe said afterwards “If he insults a referee like me then he will use that vulgar language to others as well”
The South African went on to say that “Maybe the England players thought ‘This is just a friendly, we can do what we like and the referees are not that professional’. It’s a shame because he is a good player when you see him on the TV. But when you see him on the pitch he just keeps on insulting the referees. To me it looks like Rooney insults people and fouls other players”
Rooney’s passion and commitment is without doubt one of the qualities that makes him the winner that he undoubtedly is but it’s also a tendency which must be diluted by a good measure of common sense. He has already experienced being red carded during a World Cup when he was sent off in the 2006 quarter final against Portugal for a needless foul on Ricardo Carvalho.
Thankfully this was not much more than an organized training run which is what may have saved Rooney but it hopefully served as a warning of what could lie ahead. “I was very disappointed in Rooney because he is my favourite player” Selogilwe admitted before adding “He apologised to me and gave me the shirt he was wearing”
England’s star striker had an eventful second fourty five minutes after coming on for the second half. He first presented a goal to Joe Cole then thumped one home himself before coming dangerously close to getting his red card. Rooney has always walked a fine line between total commitment and over the top aggression, here was a perfect example of it. Manager Fabio Capello had urged his charges to close down the opposition after the break and Rooney relished the opportunity to obey those instructions to the letter.
He was seriously close to losing control when he went in late on impressive little playmaker Kagiso Senamela. Soon after that, he picked up a yellow card for making a sign suggesting Selogilwe should use his eyes after a foul was given against England. It was totally unnecessary. Capello certainly does not want to see his main striking weapon red carded because he will be of no use to anyone off the pitch. Ironically, it was a guy known as Psycho – coach Stuart Pearce, to tell him to calm down.
Capello has been instrumental in ensuring that Rooney is used further forward on the pitch allowing the Manchester United man to make a more positive impression than he did in Germany four years ago. The star striker cannot wait for the opener against the USA. “We are ready” he promised “the preparation games are over for us now and we cannot wait for the big one coming up on Saturday. I just can’t wait, the sooner it comes the better” And neither can we Roo.
Will Rooney be as effective if he was less committed?