There has been a massive overreaction to Rooney swearing

Rooney: Not right, but not wrong either.
Wayne Rooney should not be punished by the FA for saying a naughty word.

First of all, let me just make something very clear: I am not a fan of Wayne Rooney. In fact, I dislike him very much. I don’t care how good a footballer he is, I don’t like how he hounds referees, treats other professional and generally acts on a football pitch and, although this has nothing to do with football, I can’t help but be disgusted by what he has done in his private life. However, putting that to one side, I’m actually going to defend ‘Wazza’, to an extent, on this occasion.
Now, the reaction to Rooney looking down straight down a camera whilst saying a naughty word has been slightly mixed; some have labelled it a “’disgusting’ foul-mouthed rant” (take a wild guess at where that link takes you) whilst others have taken a more relaxed approach, with The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden wading into the ‘footballers are role models’ debate.
Is it just me or does the bloke next to the 
cameraman look pretty darn happy?
Footballers are, of course, in the spotlight at all times, especially on the football field. Every single step is prodded and poked, every facial expression described and analysed. Rooney has, this season, been a frustrated footballer. While I have no sympathy for him whatsoever (his problems are of his own doing) I can understand that he is frustrated. His performances, on the whole, have been poor. Manchester United have been poor. Yesterday, they went into half-time 2-0 down against a side battling relegation. West Ham are enjoying a late burst of form and will probably stay up, but Rooney, and the rest of the team, must have been pretty hacked off with their own performances going into the dressing room. Rooney then came out in the second half and scored three goals (a free-kick, a wonderfully taken volley and a penalty), all-but ending the title race as a contest. Rooney knew that that third goal pretty much sealed the title for United.
Frustration alone, of course, does not mean that is socially acceptable to go around F-ing and blinding. But, for me at least, it’s explicable. When Rooney plays, he’s not thinking about kids sat at home watching, and nor should he have to. He’s thinking about winning; thinking about scoring goals and getting back to the unstoppable form that Manchester United fans are crying out for.
Yes, because footballers are in the limelight they will be seen as ‘idol’ material. However, once a footballer does something ‘wrong’, it is up to the parents to tell their kids that that is wrong. If a child was set at home yesterday, watching the United game, and promptly turned round to his father and told him where to go after seeing Rooney do what he did, it’s up to that parent to tell the child it’s wrong. Some would say that the parent shouldn’t have to (and, actually, the role model debate is the only debate out of all of this that I can actually, sort of, sympathise with) but I would argue that if parents are still allowing their children to idolise Wayne Rooney, then that’s their own fault.
I’ve seen many, many (MANY) people over the weekend say something along the lines of “If I earned what Wayne Rooney earns, I’d learn to control myself”. That’s very easy to say when you’re not actually in the situation. In this instance, I don’t care how much Rooney earns; he’s still a human being, he still gets frustrated, he still feels the intensity of a football match and he will probably swear. Like we all do. The idea that, if a person earns £200,000 a week they will immediately stop swearing is ludicrous – unless it’s in his contract, of course. The amount of money that Rooney earns is completely irrelevant. As is the Respect campaign in this case – who exactly has Rooney disrespected?
Some have complained that the outburst was before 9pm, the watershed, and so, somehow, that makes it much worse. As Liam Blackburn has noted, this isn’t a television drama, it’s a football match. Football shouldn’t change just because there are cameras. Football would be just fine without the cameras. A football match is played by real people in real life in real time. Footballers can’t afford to be thinking about the cameras or the millions of people sat at home, they need to concentrate on the task at hand.
“Wash your mouth out, son”
Rooney has, I’m sure you’ll remember, got previous in this kind of thing. “Nice to see ya own fans booing ya” didn’t include any taboo words but actually did disrespect the fans that paid obscene amounts of money to go out to South Africa and watch another pathetic English attempt at doing something (ANYTHING) at a World Cup. That outburst, as well as the general public’s (understandable) dislike for Rooney, means that Saturday’s episode has been blown out of all proportion. Rooney can hardly be seen as a victim but, in my eyes, he’s done very little wrong on this occasion. I’m sure Chelsea fans will point to the fact that Didier Drogba was punished for swearing to a camera in the Champions League; but that was completely different. Drogba called the ref a disgrace. “He brought the referee’s integrity into question”, as a footballing organisation would say.
And here’s why: there is, on the whole, a massive overreaction to swearing in general. Why is “fuck” a swear word? Who sat down one day and decided that, actually, certain words weren’t allowed?
Look at the word “crap”, or “bastard”. Ten years ago, these words would have been seen as highly offensive. Now, they are seen as words that are somewhere in the middle between acceptable language and swearing. The word “crap” is often used to stop yourself from swearing, like “bugger” or “shhhhhhhugar”.
In a few years, the word “fuck” will have changed its status. Swear words don’t actually mean anything. The youth of today, rightly or wrongly, swear. I’ve often wondered why swear words are seen as swear words. Maybe this article should have been given the headline “There’s a massive overreaction to swearing in general” (as well as WARNING: RANT ALERT), but the headline is not important. My point is: Rooney should not be punished for saying the word “fuck”. Oh, sorry, has that offended you? Of course not. It’s a word. Move on.
Rooney has, to his credit, apologised for his ‘outburst’:
 “I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially any parents or children that were watching.”
As Alan Shearer said on Match of The Day on Saturday night – he’s apologised, so let’s move on. 

Rooney escapes FA ban for elbow

Wayne Rooney will not be punished by The Football Association despite television replays clearly showing that the England international caught Wigan midfielder with his elbow on Saturday.
As Rooney ran past McCarthy the striker seemed to deliberately hit the Wigan man in the face, leading to referee Mark Clattenburg giving a free kick. He did not, though, give a red, or even yellow, card.
Because Clattenburg ‘dealt’ with the incident during the match, English football’s governing body cannot act as they believe it will undermine the officials, as The Press Association explains:
“The disciplinary process is complex in the sense that the FA are not allowed by FIFA to take further action on incidents already dealt with by the referee.
In addition, world football’s governing body frowns upon the idea that referees could go into a game believing they have a ‘get-out’ of trial by video, as is the case in both codes of rugby, where Rooney would almost certainly have been cited given the severity of the incident.”
The FA have decided that retrospective punishment will not be taken as Clattenburg has told them that he feels he administrated appropriate action at the time, basically leading  The FA powerless.
Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley said: “Match officials are trained to prioritise following the ball, as that’s where the greater majority of incidents are going to take place. However, we also do a lot of work around the area of peripheral vision to be aware of anything that might potentially happen off the ball.”
He added: “In this incident Mark was following play but caught sight of two players coming together and he awarded a free-kick because he believed one player had impeded the other.
“We should be clear that Mark did nothing wrong in officiating this incident as he acted on what he saw on the pitch.”
While this decision does show consistency (if The FA were to punish Rooney and therefore use him as an example, there would be similar outrage to that of now because they did not persecute Ben Thatcher or Steven Gerrard, who have been involved in similar incidents in the last few years) there is a clear indication that the rule regarding retrospective punishment needs to change.
With the advances in technology that the game has experienced, or, rather, ignored, over the years, surely some sort of implementation of video evidence should be at least taken into consideration?
Rooney is now free to face Chelsea tomorrow night as United go into a vital period of their season, with Liverpool and possibly Arsenal coming up in the next few weeks, as well as Marseille in the Champions League. Sir Alex Ferguson should count himself lucky that one of his most influential players, at his best, is still available for selection.

This article originally appeared on sports website Sports Haze but is now unavailable due to the site closing down.

Ten examples of Wayne Rooney’s brilliance

Poor role model? Yes. One of the best footballers this country has ever produced? Without a doubt. Losing his touch? Of course not. I take a look back at what Wayne Rooney should be known for.

Wayne Rooney is quite clearly a phenomenal footballer. While his current goalscoring form is nothing to be desired, it is only a matter of time before the England hit-man gets back to his best and resumes the career that has been nothing short of incredible to date.

10) In January 2007, Portsmouth were sitting in sixth position in the Premier League and, after beating Wigan in round three of the FA Cup, were rewarded with a tie at Old Trafford. After Rooney had opened the scoring for the current league leaders on 77 minutes, the England striker lofted an exquisite chip over David James from forty-yards:

The goal was so good that the BBC made a ‘virtual replay’ of it. What purpose did this serve? Your guess is as good as mine.
9)  This goal is all about the precision and power of Rooney’s right foot. There aren’t many players in the world that could bring the ball down with one touch, cut inside and then fire in at the near post, right inside the corner:

8)  Of course, it is not just Manchester United who benefit from Rooney’s ability. “Wazza” has scored twenty-six goals in sixty-seven appearances for England and this one, against Russia in 2008, was a superb volley and showcased the natural ability that the boy has:

7) It has been said of many footballers, many times, that they cannot perform on the big stage, that they ‘bottle it’ when it comes to the big games, especially against European opponents. This cannot be said of Rooney. He’s scored twenty-two goals in fifty-six appearances in European competitions, and this one against Roma was certainly special:

6) Another example of Rooney showing his prowess on the European stage here. A brilliant turn and perfect finish against AC Milan as United go on to win 3-2:

5) Rooney has scored some absolute stunners against Newcastle United (as you will see later on) and this one is certainly up there. The precision and technique shown is simply sublime and the assist from current Toon player Alan Smith isn’t too bad either:

4) Remember this? I certainly do. I was sitting in front of the television watching ITV1’s The Premiership whilst getting ready for my Sunday league game that day. I’d heard that “a new star had been born” and that he’d “exploded onto the English football scene”, but what I saw that morning was nothing short of spectacular. As a fresh-faced Rooney took the ball down, turned and fired past David Seaman in the Arsenal goal, football fans all over the country stood with mouths open as Wayne helped his Everton side to overcome the Gunners 2-1. To this very day, the commentary is fresh in my memory:

3) When Sir Alex Ferguson pays over £25 million for an eighteen-year-old striker, you know something special is afoot. Scoring seventeen goals in seventy-seven Everton appearances was clearly enough to prove to the Scot that Rooney was a talent and, as United beat Turkish side Fenerbahçe 6-2 at home in 2004, Rooney grabbed a hat-trick to truly announce himself on the European stage:

2) This goal is a personal favourite of mine. The ability to be able to hit a ball that is coming across your body can only be natural ability and instinct. The fact that Rooney catches the ball so well, firing past a hapless Mark Schwarzer in an FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough just adds to the brilliance of the goal:

1) In football, there are goals that make you simply sit back and applaud. There are goals that, when you watch them back years later, they send shivers down your spine. There are some goals that can even leave you speechless. This goal against Newcastle has the ability to do all of the above, and more. The power and technique is impressive enough, but the fact that Rooney beats Shay Given from 25 yards, even though the ‘keeper is in the corner of which he is beaten, is absolutely ridiculous. Not only was it the strike of that season, but it is also one of the best strikes I have ever seen. As Andy Gray quite rightly says, Rooney, “take a bow son”:

Honourable mentions, of course, have to go to the goal against Bolton and the magnificent finish against Aston Villa in the FA Cup a couple of years ago. Also worth a mention, purely for the comedic effect, is this video of a Rooney goal against Arsenal to extend United’s lead to 2-0, something which the commentator enjoys immensely.

No matter what you think of Wayne Rooney, given recent scandals involving his private life, he is an incredible footballer and, hopefully, he will soon rediscover his form and prove that that old cliché is correct: form is temporary, class is permanent.

Back with a bang

Picture courtesy of Sky Sports
Manchester United left it late once again as they finally broke down a resilient Rangers side to progress from Group C of the Champions League.

Wayne Rooney’s return to Manchester United’s starting eleven was always going to make the headlines and it was the Englishman who settled the tie, firing a penalty home in the last five minutes to give Sir Alex Ferguson’s side the victory.
United had been frustrated by Walter Smith’s men throughout the match as the Scottish side set up in a defensive 5-4-1 formation, with in-form Kenny Miller given the role of the lone striker. Despite their protective formation, Rangers did attack well, especially on the counter, with Steven Davis and Richard Foster acting as wing backs, tracking the runs of United’s wingers and attacking full-backs.
Dimitar Berbatov was given the nod ahead of the Mexican striker Javier Hernandez to start up front with Rooney. The Bulgarian struggled to create much in the game, apart from an early penalty claim which was harshly turned down, and Rooney wasn’t having any more luck in a match which was controlled in midfield.
Carrick: main man
Michael Carrick has been slightly out of form recently but the former Tottenham midfielder was the main man at Ibrox, along with his midfield partner Paul Scholes. Carrick attempted 118 passes in the match, of which he successfully completed 107 (shown right). The centre of midfield was clearly the vocal point of United’s team, with Scholes also spraying the ball out to both flanks with supreme accuracy, which helped Fabio and John O’Shea to advance forward.

The Brazilian full-back, particularly, attacked very well down the left-hand side with Ryan Giggs in front of him; the Welshman, like Rooney, returned to United’s side after a considerable lay-off.

Down the right-hand side, Ferguson chose to play O’Shea behind the ever-flamboyant Nani, who went down looking for a penalty not long after Berbatov had been denied what was clearly a foul on the striker. Nani, though, then hit the floor with minimal contact and was rightly told to get up.
The majority of United’s play was found down the left-hand side through Fabio and skipper Giggs, with Berbatov the first to almost benefit as his header was saved comfortably by Allan McGregor.
The game, though, was certainly not all about United. Miller, who took his goal tally to eighteen at the weekend as the striker scored a hat-trick against Kilmarnock in a 3-2 away victory, should have done better after fifteen minutes when he headed wide from inside the area. Miller went close again later on from a tight angle after good build-up play, though the forward would have done well to convert with Edwin Van der Sar saving well in what was a quiet match for the Dutch goalkeeper.
McGregor also had a calm game in the Rangers goal and that was mainly due to the inability of United to break down the Rangers back line, and even when they did break them down, United’s finishing was poor. Rooney, in particular, missed two decent chances in the first half, the best of which crashed against the crossbar five minutes before the break.
Rooney’s striking partner, Berbatov, has been criticised in recent years for his attitude and work rate, and the Bulgarian didn’t do anything to put a halt to this criticism last night, putting in a lacklustre performance in which his passing and first touch were generally poor. That hat-trick against Liverpool seems a long time ago. Despite that, the service to the strikers, from Nani in particular, was very poor in the final third. 

Nani’s passing in final third was poor 
although strikers are as much to blame as he is
That is only half the story, however, as 40-year-old David Weir put in a sterling performance at the back alongside Kirk Broadfoot and Steven Whittaker, both of whom could not be faulted.
Although Rangers had had the best chance in the first half, through Miller, it was United who looked the more likely to score, and it was the main man Carrick who had the first big opportunity of the match. Rooney and Berbatov linked up well to put Carrick through on goal with plenty of room, but the midfielder was thwarted by the advancing McGregor.

The centre of United’s midfield was clearly the vocal point, 
although Steven Davis and Steven Naismith 
had a lot of influence in the game.
The midfield of Rangers was forced to take something of a backseat as they could only watch as Scholes and Carrick ran the show, but Steven Naismith capitalised on a rare defensive mix-up for United, Van der Sar had to recover well as Naismith nipped in to get a toe on a pass which Evans naively misjudged.
Ferguson changed his side’s set-up somewhat with the introduction of Brazilian midfielder Anderson, coming on Scholes, who may have been struggling with an injury as he left the field with twenty-five minutes to go.
With the minutes ticking by, United began to push for that elusive winner further and even began to get desperate. In the space of five minutes Rooney blasted over from thirty yards, headed wide from inside the area and miscued a volley from the penalty spot.
Ferguson clearly saw the need for change with fifteen minutes to go and the Scot, who starred for Rangers in his playing days, brought Hernandez on for the uninspiring Berbatov, although ‘Chicharito’ failed to really impose himself on the match. Nani was also hauled off by Ferguson as French winger Gabriel Obertan attempted to give United some fresh legs down the right-hand side.
Over a month ago Rangers succeeded in holding United to a 0-0 draw and the Scottish side, who have never beaten Manchester United, looked set to gain another valuable point in the Champions League.
A clumsy foul from Naismith gave Rooney the chance to announce his return to the United side. Fabio darted down the left and found himself in the penalty area, only to be clattered by Naismith as the full-back attempted to play the ball across goal. The penalty was duly awarded, courtesy of the assistant referee on the by-line, and Rooney dispatched with such ease as if he’d never been away.

Diagrams from Total Football app, available on iTunes for £2.99 

Rooney should leave and go abroad

Wayne RooneyImage via Wikipedia

There always seems to be an over-hyped topic in football. Whether it’s the physicality of the modern game or ridiculously defensive tactics, football fans and media outlets alike always have big news to discuss again and again, until it isn’t even a news story anymore. Wayne Rooney’s future as a Manchester United player seems to be the latest example of this, with stories, true or otherwise, coming out of the club every other minute.

On 24th September Sir Alex Ferguson told the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that Rooney was starting to feel the strain of the media. He said: “He is realising what it means to be at the centre of media attention for non-football-related questions. He would like to keep playing with freedom, but the siege of the tabloids can wear out anyone.” Although the off-field controversy and personal problems may well affect Rooney’s form on the pitch, the striker can only blame himself for the, quite frankly, appalling performances that he has been putting in for both club and country. Sir Alex, though, is right, kind of.
Everyone know’s that the English media are far too intrusive and play to their readership’s simple needs  day-in, day-out. While newspapers, twenty-four-hour news channels and opinionated blogs cannot be blamed fully for the dismal showings of the former-Everton striker, they do pose a problem to Rooney and his family.
While some would have little sympathy with Wayne with his, and Colleen’s, appearances in Hello! And Ok! Magazine and other celebrity-obsessed publications, a person’s private life should not be splashed all over the front pages. Whatever he’s alleged to have done is nothing to do with anyone but those involved. It doesn’t matter how famous they are or much of an idol they apparently need to be, no one deserves to see their marriage ripped apart even further by the tabloids.
Rooney is clearly fed up with the media and Ferguson is clearly fed up of discussing the Rooney situation in press conferences. It is a common conception that media outlets elsewhere in the world are less intrusive. While it is quite difficult to judge the level of press invasion, it is clear that, in foreign lands, they are not so obsessed with celebrities (apart from in America, of course). They don’t listen to rumours until they are officially confirmed. Their thirst for knowledge is not as obscene as in Britain.
A move to another country is not going to solve Rooney’s problems, in fact it could create more issues; A new language, new culture and possibly more media exposure because of the current lack of English stars plying their trade abroad. But a move away from Manchester United and England will benefit him as a player and a person. The small number of high-quality English footballers playing abroad has been commented on by many (most notably in the fantastic book, Why England Lose) and Rooney going to Spain, Italy or Germany would, of course, create quite a stir. It wouldn’t be Beckham-esque, but the move, along with a high-profile fall-out with Fergie, would make for massive headlines.
As many people have been quick to point out, this isn’t first occasion that someone has crossed Fergie. Unfortunately for Rooney, the Scot usually comes out on top. Beckham, Keane, Van Nistelrooy, Stam and, more recently, Tevez; all players who have felt the wrath of a fall-out with Fergie. All have left the club pretty soon after their respective spat, which only fuels talk that Rooney will soon leave the Red Devils after his comments after the recent England international.
As always, the mere chance of Rooney leaving has been greeted by various rumours about prospective new clubs. Real Madrid are reportedly the favourites, while Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Manchester City are supposedly interested. £50 million is the fee being quoted in the newspapers, although Manchester City could quite easily, and happily, improve on this. Most clubs, though, would be cautious in paying this price for a player who is clearly unhappy at a club and wants to leave, and who is in the last eighteen months of his contract with a club who seemingly want rid of him. Money to City, though, has no value.
The likelihood of Ferguson allowing his star asset to join local rivals City is very unlikely. Carlos Tevez technically went from United to City but that was a completely different, and all the more complicated, situation. Rooney would be the most hated man in the North West, without a doubt, if he went to City.
Forgetting about the personal issues for a second, going to City would be a terrible move for the striker. Although he would be able to link up with old mate Tevez again, he would not progress as a player whatsoever. If Rooney is to become a better player, especially on the international stage, he needs to go abroad. At Real Madrid he could join former-United star Cristiano Ronaldo in Jose Mourinho’s side and could even swap places with Karim Benzema, while, at Barca, which would possibly be the better Spanish move, he could play in one of the greatest attacking sides of modern times. Messi, Villa, Pedro, Bojan, Xavi, Iniesta.. and Rooney. A lovely little thought.
Italian defences could provide a greater test for Rooney, which would be even better for England if he can prove his worth there. Inter Milan are reportedly keen to sign the striker, although rivals AC Milan, with recent recruits Robinho and Ibrahimovic, as well as Ronaldinho and Pato, could be looking to improve on their already ego-filled squad. Where Rooney would fit in to the Rossoneri side is an entirely different question, but that didn’t stop Massimiliano Allegri from buying two strikers to add to an already-full forward line.
A move to Germany would certainly be surprising given the apparent decline in ‘lure-ability’ in German club football, although that could entice Rooney even more. What is for sure, though, is that Rooney hasto go abroad if he can’t sort his problems with Sir Alex out. And, after Fergie revealed on Tuesday, just a day before a crucial Champions League match against Bursaspor, it may not be too long before United lose their prized asset.

This article was originally published on football website Football Speak but is now unavailable due to a site update.

Rooney not going to Spain, yet

Wayne Rooney misses Champions League trip through injury.


Wayne Rooney will not be travelling to Valencia with the Manchester United squad tomorrow morning – because of an ankle injury.

The England forward has endured a torrid time, on-and-off the field, this season, scoring just one goal for his club. That penalty against West Ham has been a solitary bright moment for Rooney in the last few weeks, who has seen his private life spread all over the front pages.

He suffered another frustrating game on Sunday in United’s 2-2 draw with Bolton, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson dragging the forward off after sixty-one minutes. Sir Alex told on Monday afternoon that Rooney was not fit enough to face Valencia, in what is sure to be the Red Devil’s toughest test in this season’s Champions League group stage.

Valencia are top of La Liga after a strong performance against Sporting Gijon at the weekend, even though they left Miguel, David Albelda and Joaquin out of the side, who won 2-0.

Rooney recently criticised the media for prying into his and his wife’s, Colleen, private life and it is believed that Rooney is becoming increasingly agitated with the press in England.

This has fuelled speculation about Rooney’s future with the club. It is thought that the 24-year-old could be lured away from the club, with Real Madrid looking to offer the England star a way out of Manchester. This would mean that he would link up with former United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, although recent rumours suggest that Ronaldo himself may not be happy. Barcelona and Inter Milan are also reportedly interested.

Rooney has said for a long time that he loves his club and his country but, if the media keep on harrowing him and the fans keep reacting poorly to him, the English Premier League could soon be saying goodbye to Wazza.