You really have to wonder what goes through the minds of presumably well paid journalists from major national newspapers when they come up with the sort of rubbish they so often do. A report appearing in the Daily Mirror suggests that “While we’re looking for scapegoats on whom to apportion blame for England’s early World Cup exit, let’s not forget the part Sir Alex Ferguson played in our South Africa debacle.”
The suggestion is that Wayne Rooney’s “subdued displays” was a result of Ferguson rushing Rooney back from injury for the Champions League second leg quarter final against Bayern Munich, just eight days after going over his ankle in the first leg 2-1 defeat in Munich. According to the Mirror report “Rooney started the decisive tie against Bayern, when patently not fit, and lasted just 55 minutes”. True enough but as a former Premier League manager is fond of saying, these are the FACTS.
In the nine weeks between that game on April 7 and England’s opening World Cup match against the USA on June 13, Rooney played a total of 240 minutes for Manchester United, not even the equivalent of three full matches. It’s interesting to note that during that period, the general consensus was that Rooney’s limited amount of action for his club was good news for England as he would be completely refreshed for the World Cup.
Rooney did not have a good campaign in South Africa, very few England players did but to claim as the Mirror reported that “by rushing Rooney back from injury too soon, the United boss handicapped England’s chances of World Cup success before the squad had even taken off for South Africa” is illogical to say the least.
If Rooney was not completely fit during the World Cup after only playing 240 minutes in the last six weeks of the Premier League season, questions must surely be asked of the England medical team rather than trying to make a scapegoat out of Ferguson.
Don’t be at all surprised if a follow up story will suggest that Sir Alex unwittingly “handicapped England’s chances of World Cup success” by somehow being responsible for England conceding four times against the Germans.
Do you think that Rooney was fit during the World Cup?