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Capello right to play Rooney

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Phil McNulty | 18:46 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

Basle

Fabio Capello took a matter of seconds to draw a line under the debate about whether Wayne Rooney would face Switzerland in Basle - and reached the correct conclusion.

Rooney's display in England's 4-0 win against Bulgaria in the opening Euro 2012 qualifier confirmed he is physically fit and edging towards his world-class best. Once Capello knew he was mentally fit after a weekend of newspaper allegations about his private life, there was no decision to take.

Capello is the ultimate pragmatist. He wants Rooney in action at St Jakob Park on Tuesday, and if there are any problems swirling around the Manchester United striker, England's coach obviously feels they are not his.

He is only interested in England getting the win that would make it a perfect start to their qualifying campaign. Is Rooney in the right place to help Capello achieve that? In the Italian's opinion he is and therefore he was right to insist his star player will start in Basle.

England striker Wayne Rooney

Rooney will be in the spotlight when Switzerland host England on Tuesday

Capello's strident and swift announcement that Rooney will play in Switzerland immediately led to an inquisition about whether he was applying double standards.

He was reminded about how ruthlessly he stripped John Terry of the captain's armband after his alleged affair with the ex-girlfriend of England team-mate Wayne Bridge - and again had a ready answer.

Capello pointed out that while he had removed the captaincy from Terry he never dropped him from the team, clearly feeling the Chelsea defender's ability to lead his country by example had been fatally compromised.

Capello is a coach who makes decisions for today not tomorrow. He brought David Beckham back from the wilderness at Real Madrid because he felt he would help him win La Liga in 2007. The Italian was prepared to tempt - with mixed success - Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes out of England retirement in an attempt to get results at the World Cup.

Capello's sole priority is the now of international management. And for him, this is getting three points against Switzerland, three points he has a much bigger chance of acquiring with Rooney than without him.

England captain Steven Gerrard reported that Rooney had been his usual self in training and that he expected "a big performance - but we expect a big performance from Wayne Rooney every time he goes out there."

Gerrard, the fellow Scouser who has formed a close bond with Rooney on and off the pitch, revealed he had spoken to the striker and also saw nothing in his demeanour to suggest he should not take his place in Basle.

As with Terry, the Football Association wisely left the matter in Capello's hands and the coach has decided the speculation is a matter for Rooney and not something he expects to detract from his display on Tuesday.

Rooney will be under intense scrutiny in Basle. Instead of Capello and Gerrard reflecting on the injection of confidence provided by the victory against Bulgaria and the first signs of recovery from the South Africa World Cup fiasco, they were inevitably peppered with questions with only a passing reference to Rooney's part in that triumph when they faced the media on Monday.

He was in lively form during England's open training session under leaden Basle skies, front and centre as the team went through their paces under Capello's gaze. And apart from one shout aimed in his direction from a Swiss supporter peering through a gate, the only sound was the noise of clicking cameras accompanying his every move.

The true test of Capello's decision will come in St Jakob Park once the action gets under way - but I believe England's coach has taken the only serious option left open to him once he had spoken to Rooney and convinced himself of the striker's state of mind.

In reality, once Rooney boarded England's plane for Basle he had to play. The matter is a personal one, and unless it was going to undermine business on the pitch there was not a single footballing reason why Capello should have left him out.

To bring Rooney to Basle and not play him would have created another story and another firestorm. Capello was never going to invite that into the England camp at such a crucial time.

And, ever the realist, Capello may also feel that once matters are concluded on Tuesday evening, Rooney is no longer his concern until England next play. He will return to Manchester United and Capello can move on - hopefully with another victory to keep him warm until England's players next meet.

Rooney will want to respond to the strong support from Capello and Gerrard by inspiring England. He may just feel a release from the personal pressures in the place where he operates best - namely on the pitch. Rooney always carries a heavy responsibility as England's talisman and he may just feel the burden is a little weightier in Basle, but Capello has no qualms about his ability to cope.

One area of concern now removed from Capello's mind is that of goalkeeper. In South Africa, his obvious worry about the position manifested itself in him taking up station virtually on a goalpost as his keepers warmed-up and went into full training.

Here in Basle, he was merely casting a cursory glance in their direction as they worked away from the main group. And this is because of the rapid development and maturity of Joe Hart.

Manchester City's young keeper was faultless against Bulgaria. Switzerland will provide a tougher test of his development, but he looks well-equipped for the task.

Capello's only selection issue, now he has decided to pick Rooney, is who partners Phil Jagielka in central defence following the injury to Michael Dawson. Everton's Jagielka enhanced his reputation against Bulgaria, and Capello must choose between Gary Cahill, Matthew Upson and his former Everton colleague Joleon Lescott.

One man, though, will be focusing all that minds inside the steepling stands of St Jakob Park - and Capello will hope his faith in Wayne Rooney is fully rewarded.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Couldn't agree more Phil. Rooney might be a bit of a plonker off the field but let's face it he is most definately pig headed enough to cope with this fine tomorrow.

    On Joe Hart, i was one of the many people that suggested he should be given the nod in South Africa, he has started the season well with City but he hasn't just become a brilliant kepper over night and i think the jury is still out on Capello's team selection at critical times.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog post! Furthermore, I don't think anyone actually cares whether Wayne sees prostitutes or not, perhaps even not his wife!

  • Comment number 3.

    Good Article!!

    It's a refreshing change to read some proper journalism instead of the sleaze-peddling from leading newspapers.

    I couldn't careless if Rooney has been playing away from home. As long as he is performing on the football pitch then that's all I care about.

    Most of the media are portraying this as a Scandal but it's not as if he is the first footballer or even person to hire the services of an escort.

    And if the media are saying that he was a role model, then I have never seen him in this light. For a man that is well-known for losing his temper I hardly consider him a role model for Family Life or a Football Icon.

    So in summary, let Rooney sort out his private life. (The main word being Private) It has nothing to do with the public or media. The only thing we can comment on is his football. And even then some may argue it's not our place to comment on that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Two key differences between the Rooney and Terry incidents:

    - Terry was stripped of the captaincy, Rooney does not have the captaincy to be stripped from him.

    - Terry's actions involved an England team-mate and were likely to affect the dressing room, Rooney's actions affect nobody but himself.

    One question:

    If, as you say, Phil, "Capello's sole priority in the now of international management", does that mean he is not building for the future at all?

    And one opinion:

    I hope Cahill starts with Jagielka in defence tomorrow.

  • Comment number 5.

    Correct decision by Capello. But still believe Rooney should have pulled out himself. These allegations need sorting not hiding from.

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally agree that Capello is right to play Rooney. Not only is Capello a pragmatist but he is a conservative pragmatist and I'm sure that he would have made a comprehensive assessment of Rooney's mental state over the last 24 hours before making the decision to play him. Remember he did the same thing for Rob Green after his blunder against the US and clearly decided in that case that the player was not in the right mental state to play. For all the criticism that gets leveled at Capello for not taking enough chances in his decision-making this is one case where he clearly had to get it right. Oh and one more thing - kudos to Rooney's fellow England players for giving him just the right type of support when it was needed. Clearly he has some things to sort out when he gets home but that's his personal business. When it comes to work all you can hope for is for your colleagues to support you professionally and allow you to do your job the best you can. Go Lions.

  • Comment number 7.

    while the alleged actions may affect his marriage, his wife his family and even himself, I don't see what relevance it has to football. In the broader picture his wife and child should be far more important, than his England Career, but this is the media looking for a quick sell, Rooney under pressure? You lot are having a laugh!

  • Comment number 8.

    "5. At 9:14pm on 06 Sep 2010, Pickles91 wrote:

    Correct decision by Capello. But still believe Rooney should have pulled out himself. These allegations need sorting not hiding from."

    1) Why do they need "sorting out"? Matter is between Rooney and his wife, no-one else.

    2) Who is hiding ? Rooney certainly isn't.


  • Comment number 9.

    I must disagree with the idea that Capello is not operating a double standard. If the allegations against Rooney are correct, he has commited an illegal act, while Terry's was only immoral. How does Capello square a punishment of one, but not the other?

  • Comment number 10.

    It is not for me or anyone to comment on Rooney's so called private life but he has already shown by his actions that he does not care about the part of life that does matter, his family. I consider life has been unkind to him, a measure of talent with no brain. If he had half a brain he would not have been caught out in the first place.

    This could be the reason for his lack of form in the recent past because there is hardly a man alive that would not be affected by his current situation.

    We seem to continually believe that one player can be indispensable when we know that this is never the case. If we continue with this strange thought process then everytime a Rooney or whoever does not play the team will have beaten themselves before they take to the pitch.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think and agree with alot of people when saying that there is no doubt that wayne rooney is a great player and is an important part in the England team. But i do think capello should of acted differently.
    John Terry did wrong and got punished for that by being stripped of his England captaincy, because it was not good for the English public to see that this would be accepted. That decision back fired on capello and it showed in the world cup. Now if Rooney was captain would capello of done the same? we will never no. But to say this wont effect no one but rooney himself is wrong, because it will effect his wife, child, and family. It has already effected the English nation else we wouldnt be having this debate. If Rooney gets sent off on in the next game because of releasing his anger(which is likely), then capello will have more questions to answer!

  • Comment number 12.

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  • Comment number 14.

    Never felt as indifferent and alienated from the England team as I do now.The arrogance of Capello, the attitude of Rooney etc.James Milner summed it up when asked if it was important to be liked by the fans.His answer was (paraphrasing here) "it's important to win games." True. But it was also clear most of the England camp couldn't give a flying hoot about the expectations and feelings of England supporters.Well guess what, the feeling is mutual.I'll never buy a ticket to another England game until this bunch and this manager has moved on.Come on Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • Comment number 15.

    As already stated, someone's private life is their business. If Wayne Rooney's broken the law, as some 606ers have argued, then that's between him and the police, and in the UK you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. As his employer, all we expect is that Wayne Rooney does the job he was employed to do. If his private life is affecting his and through him his colleagues performances then it's Fabio Capello's job to decide whether it's doing so to the extent that he has to be dropped.

    I can't prove it, but I would suggest this explains why he was poor beyond belief in the WC. In which case, you would have to ask if FC had been aware of this. And if he had been, based on what he was seeing rather than WR's reputation, with a heavy heart, why he continued to play him.

  • Comment number 16.

    Frankly I'm a bit tired of hearing about footballer's private lives. Yes, it sounds like Rooney has been a prat, but is this really a suprise? Footballers, particularly highly talented ones like Rooney, have been seperated from a 'normal life' since an early age. They have had praise, adulation and money thrown at them from a very impressionable age...is it any wonder they act like foolish little kids? If we're all honest the events and hardships that made us grow up and shaped us as people are events that no footballer is every going to have been exposed to. It constantly amazes me that anyone expects them to act like real people. Points, questions?

    Anyway, on a playing front:
    Rooney has to start, especially after the marked improvement in his performance last time out.
    To partner Jagielka: I think Upson has been found wanting at this level too many times so between Lescott and Cahill. My opinion is that Cahill is the future and with Jagielka in such great form it's the perfect time to give him some international experience.
    Keeper-wise: After his season at Birmingham this issue should have been closed and Hart should have had the No.1 shirt in the bag from even before the WC, but we can't change the past and just have to be happy that he's got it now. Also, with Foster showing some signs of returning to the level he's shown previously and Carson back in the top flight, not to mention the lad who's been impressing at Fulham (Stockdale?), maybe there will be a bit of competition for the top spot. Although Hart is, for me, the best of them, some quality back-ups to keep him on his toes can't be a bad thing.

    My team/formation:
    GK: Hart
    LB: Cole
    CB: Jagielka
    CB: Cahill
    RB: G. Johnson (God, i wish we had a realistic alternative!)
    CDM: Barry
    CM: Milner
    CM: Gerrard (Pushing up to play just behind Rooney)
    LF: A. Johnson
    CF: Rooney
    RF: Walcott

    I know Capello won't play that formation, but for me it's the way to get the best out of Gerrard, Rooney and Walcott at the very least. What's wrong with playing to the strengths of two of your best players and one of your biggest young talents? As for Defoe, yes he got a hat-trick but he's just a finisher and I personally find him too one dimensional. Realistically, though, I expect Capello to play the same formation/line up as last time out, but maybe drop Walcott to the bench and start with Johnson in his place.

  • Comment number 17.

    Definitely the right decision and this cant be compared to what terry did as this is an issue between Rooney and his misses.

    People need to get off Rooneys back as although he has been off form its not like anyone else has been playing that well and his performance vs bulgaria shows how vital he is to an england team which plays well.

    Im more worried that lampard will worm his way back into the team as we finally had some balance on friday. Gerrard is a different class to lampard and him playing in the centre was one of the main reasons we performed well.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why does England behave as if Rooney is indispensable? I just dont get it. Every time the selection process starts you hear papers asking who will partner Rooney upfront, its as if its his given right to play regardless. At the mom he is clearly not in the right frame of mind, but he will start ahead of players like Bent, Cole etc, alongside Defoe I presume. This mentality is what hampers England's improvement. If you look at the strike rate for England, Crouch and Defoe have better stats than Rooney lately but he will still be prefered ahead of both....??Why? When Capello took over he promised he'd select his teams based on form but he seems to have gone back on his word.
    England will not win anything with this kind of thinking that Rooney is superhuman. To be honest he's average, the stats back that up, and just way too arrogant for his own good. Too much spotlight is put on him, just take a look at this report a while back during the world cup and how things turned out in the end....other teams have very good players but they dont heap presure or label their players super-players, its ridiculous, esp when the so-called super-striker flops at the same tournament. Get off it. If I were Capeloo i'd give him a break, like Chelsea did with terry. It'd help him. Imagine if his performance is dire tomorrow night(which is possible going by his recent performances), what will you all be saying?
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3017681/Kais-dad-sticks-it-to-the-Kaiser.html

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

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  • Comment number 21.

    14. At 9:54pm on 06 Sep 2010, Meerschaum_221B wrote:

    "Never felt as indifferent and alienated from the England team as I do now.The arrogance of Capello, the attitude of Rooney etc"

    What is the matter with you ?

    "attitude of Rooney" ????????????

    What exactly is wrong with Rooney's attitude as exemplified on Friday ?

  • Comment number 22.

    It'll probably end up being worse for her career, not his. I hope the newspapers are paying her well.

  • Comment number 23.

    To GunnarShumba...I don't think it's a question of Rooney being treated as if he indispensible. I think it is purely a football decision made by Fabio Capello. Rooney is his most potent attacking weapon, and having ensured he is in the right state of mind after the weekend allegations, he is happy to play him. On that basis, I certainly agree with Capello.

  • Comment number 24.

    18. At 10:10pm on 06 Sep 2010, GunnarShumba wrote:

    "Why does England behave as if Rooney is indispensable?"

    If managers play him as Capello did last Friday, he is indispensable.

  • Comment number 25.

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  • Comment number 26.

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  • Comment number 27.

    without a supply nobody scores and nobody supplies better than rooney. someone from the bbc should ask fergie what he thinks about rooneys frame of mind

  • Comment number 28.

    just a little joke

  • Comment number 29.

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  • Comment number 31.

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  • Comment number 32.

    Mcnulty, do you do any research into your articles, or even reread some of your own work?!

    Today: "Capello is the ultimate pragmatist."

    hang on a sec....

    June 28: "his almost pre-historic obsession with 4-4-2 led his side over the precipice"

    June 27: "Capello had as undistinguished a World Cup as his players, showing tactical inflexibilty by relying on the goal-shy old warhorse Emile Heskey"

    you do make me laugh sometimes!

  • Comment number 33.

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  • Comment number 34.

    It would make a refreshing change if someone delved into the private lives of some of these so-called journalists (e.g. Oliver Holt, Shaun Custis, etc) and reported on their "lifestyle misdemeanours". They behave as if they are the custodians of human decency when I expect they are nothing of the sort.

  • Comment number 35.

    Phil, when you say England are a more potent attacking threat with Rooney, you are clearly making the obvious presumption without doing any research. Some stats in the paper today showed that since his debut in 2003, England have won something like 20% less games with Rooney than without, and that we scored 0.3 less goals per match with him rather than without him. Anyway, Rooney still should be allowed to play, he was hardly the greatest role model anyway.

  • Comment number 36.

    No player is indispensible but Rooney is as close it gets atm for England.

    So on that basis, it was a no brainer for Capello.

  • Comment number 37.

    Rooney must play. What is this? The americanisation of GB? Play,Play,Play.

  • Comment number 38.

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  • Comment number 39.

    Who set up all three of Defoe's goals against Bulgaria? Wayne Rooney.

    He was magnificent on Friday night. I'm hoping he stuffs the lot of you and gets his own hat-trick against the Swiss.

  • Comment number 40.

    gunnarshumba and Chuck Norris Is a Stoke Fan, are you being serious when you think rooney should not be in the starting line up? If he is in the right frame of mind then he MUST play because, like him or not, he is our best attacking threat. To even suggest the likes of carlton cole or darren bent even reach his level of ability is laughable and then too claim stats show england are better without him?! Lets play the swiss with cole and bent up front and see how you feel after that

  • Comment number 41.

    There seems to be alot of support for Rooney,which is right in my opinion. Do we want the best 11 footballers, or the nicest 11 people from England to play for us?? However i do feel most of the negative comments have probably been moderated for going a little too far??! I think the real people we should be annoyed at here are the tabloid newspapers who consitantly try to catch people out and ruin thr lives of england players and their familes simply to make more money for themselvs. They constantly disrupt the england team with these stories, and tried to cost us the world cup bid with the story about Lord Triesman which cost him his job?? Who did that benifit?? Certainly not the average England fan!!!
    Why do we never get to read about the good things players do?? Just this weekend gone, Jamie Carragher raised a huga sum of money for charites with his testimonial for liverpool but this barely gets a mention??
    This situation does not happen in other countries, Wayne Rooneys personel life should be just that. The fact he gets paid alot of money is because he is one of the best in the world at what he does, and this does not give us the right to expect him to be perfect in everyway all the time

  • Comment number 42.

    just wondering why i am being moderated?? i have been a member for almost 2 years??

  • Comment number 43.

    Krimbo you are spot on. Down in Oz we have a constant stream of issues such as this, mainly from rugby league players every second week, whether it be affairs, group sex scandals, drugs, racist slurs, the list goes on... At the end of the day they are playing a game of sport and that is where the media should leave them. I think that the real problem is that SO MANY people actually love all the drama as seen by all the gossip mags and tv shows, our culture has become a voyeuristic one. It is sick. Reading comments from the woman saying she thought it was terrible that he did it with a pregnant wife is so hypocritical. She, along with Tiger's tramps asking for apologies puts the women's movement back 50 years.
    Most sportsmen don't ask to be role models so don't treat them as such and we won't have a problem. Terry and Rooney play football, Tiger plays golf, if they were marriage counselors then we have a problem but they are not.

  • Comment number 44.

    Forget who he's in bed with. England should be more worried about Rooney's fitness, looking a bit round these days

  • Comment number 45.

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  • Comment number 46.

    Rooney is silly

  • Comment number 47.

    #41, spot on leon boylan. These muckrakers and the people who buy their muck are traitors. These stories are written and timed to cause the maximum damage to the England cause. The only interest this is serving is our rivals'.

    What I can't understand is that at the next England press conference, as these traitors are planning how next to best undermine the Englnad team, at the same time they will be lapping up the hospitality and the FA will be bending over backwards to accommodate them! James Milner being bombarded by questions about Wayne Rooney surely isn't the best mental preparation. Though I have to say he handled it very well! No doubt there are press obligations, but the FA really should be giving the dregs of reporting a long overdue kick in the face. If guests to my home repay my hospitality by dirtying my name, they don't get invited again.

  • Comment number 48.

    The difference in attitude is simply astounding. I just turned on Fifa 2010. Rooney is the lead character in the game. Im sure Nike are happpy to be linked with such tails. Im sure his manager SAF is red faced about this. Im sure those in the FA are thinking what another fine mess following Johnt Terry and Ashely Cole etc. Will Rooney cop the same ammount of flack as those two in the stands and press? Im musing about double standards. Least we not forget the four gagging orders on the press over other England players. You know, as an England fan, I would just dearly love to see a team of players who love the jersey, im not doubting the current crop of wasters don't care about it, but they dont care enough. After the World Cup - my position was simple, ditch most of the first team, bring in young and experienced players from across the leagues into the squad. We should also have gotten rid of the manager as it appears as though he is no better or worse than sven and all the jazz that went on in the dressing room. I have simply lost interest in England, But please can we rid oursaelves of JT, Cole, Gerrard, Rooney, and the others in tht line up with gagging orders? Whatever happened to decency and integrity in sport... Its not like you can say the players are actually any good at international level as they have done nothing for the duration of their careers, it would be no loss to move them all on into the green fields of retirement. Mcnulty and the forum, back to you.

  • Comment number 49.

    As already stated, someone's private life is their business. If Wayne Rooney's broken the law, as some 606ers have argued, then that's between him and the police, and in the UK you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. As his employer, all we expect is that Wayne Rooney does the job he was employed to do. If his private life is affecting his and through him his colleagues performances then it's Fabio Capello's job to decide whether it's doing so to the extent that he has to be dropped.

    -------------------------------------------


    That is all true.

    I just wonder why so few people were saying it back when Terry was in the news.

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  • Comment number 51.

    Im more worried that lampard will worm his way back into the team as we finally had some balance on friday.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    We absolutely had no balance!

    Our midfield was a joke and it only improved at 2-0 up as Rooney came into the game more.

    That is not to say that bringing back Lampard is the answer, but it is to say we have one of the worst and unimaginative midfields I have ever seen.

  • Comment number 52.

    Not really fussed what Rooney's been up to off the pitch. He's still one of our best players, so should play.

    The thing that gets me is that why is the team now so radically different from the World Cup? A majority thought Joe Hart should've been in goal for the World Cup. He wasn't. Dawson, Jags and Cahill should've always been in the pecking order ahead of Carragher and Upson. They weren't.

    Capello has only had 4 Premier League games to change his mind about these players. The point I'm making is that a decent record in qualifying is going to be tarnished by such a poor World Cup. Why couldn't Capello see what everyone else could 3 months ago? This isn't just hindsight, it was obvious at the time that Capello had picked a terrible squad for the World Cup. It was bizarre that we had 2 West Ham players (Green and Upson) forming the spine of our team, and the likes of SWP, Carragher and Heskey somehow came along for the ride and will now hopefully never be seen in an England shirt again.

    Capello may have finally got the squad in a better shape, but it seems to me to be more by luck and trial and error than actual sound judgement.

  • Comment number 53.

    As ever we are all entitled to Phil's opinion. In this case I agree with Phil. I'll even go further and say that for once this piece of journalism is not aimed at undermining either the player or the coach. In most professions one only has to turn up at the office and do the necessary without undermining a colleague . Whatever one does away from the office is none of anybody else's business.

    So I say let Rooney turn up at St. Jakob Park, do the business and that will be the end of the story. If however he doesn't do the business he will have handed the press a field day with all the press psychiatrists peering into the minds of both the coach and player.

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  • Comment number 56.

    Maybe if the press stopped undermining the team by talking about celebrity style gossip rather than football, we might actually gain the mentality to win a trophy, meaning the press could have a real story about sporting achievement rather than some superfluous non-entity of a story about something that doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 57.

    What is hilarious here is that somehow in our media driven society we are given the impression our footballers are as intelligent as a socially adept nuclear physicist. Football doesn't take intelligence. Young kids have millions of pounds thrown at them for playing and doing a physical work out 5 times a week. Young children are then expected to know how to handle themselves in society and behave with moral certitude and be shining examples to one and all. Who teaches you not to sleep with your mates ex, who teaches you the discipline required for commitment to your couple, who teaches you that all those people getting you drunk are hangers on and good time charlies. Most footballers learn the hard way like the rest of us, Adams, Best, Gazza, Sharpe, Terry, the list is Endless. What the media might be better doing in the case of Gazza for example is encourage people to save him rather than make him into the clown king he became, which they did. We still hear of Gazza but are Jimmy 5 bellies and Chris Evans still his mates? , I have said it before here, footballers and football writers should stick to football. Sure there are private lives, but leave them in the entertainment gossip pages. Otherwise we are going to have to start reporting about the mood of a player when he gets out of bed and they will all end up in an institution for the mentally bewildered. What you need to ask is what formation will Capello play, and why play the players who are so precious to success against the weak teams. The weak teams is where you blood your future.

  • Comment number 58.

    i am totally disgusted by this absolutely disgraceful show of shame and lack of thoughtfulness by phil and everyone on here.
    How can y'all say rooney definately has to play. Who the hell is he? I mean for God's sakes he has only scored for goal, a penalty, in almost forever. Meanwhile crouchy and benty have been in a form of their lives scoring goals with reckless abandon yet people want rooney to play every single game as if the english team belongs to his father. His form is been rubbish both for england and man u and the reason has just come out.
    Private life my foot. It has clearly affected his performance. How you phil cant see this is beyond my imagination.
    Everyone saw how the terry situation affected him and though chelsea kept playing him to the waterloo of the team as he kept making silly blunders. Not until he was given a break to sort out his mess was he able to improve his performances.
    Everyone on here kept calling for terry and ashely be droped from england. but when it comes to rooney he has to play. He must play. If he doesnt play britain and the world will burn.
    enuf said.

  • Comment number 59.

    Morning everyone from rain-soaked Basle. Many thanks for your responses so far.

    Interesting variety of opinions on this one, but as I said my own view is that Fabio Capello had to take a purely footballing view on this issue and has reached the correct conclusion after assessing Rooney's demeanour and approach in training.

    The John Terry situation was different, as Capello said. He took the captaincy off him but never considered dropping him. He clearly felt Terry was no longer in a position to lead the rest of the squad following allegations about his personal life that also involved an international team-mate Wayne Bridge, and that led to Bridge's retirement from international football.

    Let's widen out the England debate. Who should Capello play alongside Phil Jagielka, excellent against Bulgaria? Cahill or Upson, or is there even a case for reviving Jagielka's old Everton partnership with Joleon Lescott?

    And if Jagielka excels again, is there a case for keeping faith with him even when Terry and Ferdinand are fit again?

    Are there any other changes you would make? And how much more of a threat will Switzerland be than Bulgaria?

    All aspects of tonight's game can be discussed here and I will return to reply to your views.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    its funny when rooney has a scandal going on..

    all the comments im reading up here are all about

    "forget what wazza does offf the pitch.. hes our best player"
    "forget his off the pitch activites, its on the pitch that counts"
    "as long as he performs on the pitch, i dont care what he does"

    well you werent too keen on keeping your nose out of terry's business were you, when that was all going down..

    you get such thick fans on here, following the sun and notw like its thier bible.

  • Comment number 62.

    Most of the posts on here say that Rooney’s private life is just that his private life. What right have we or anyone else got to pry into anyone’s private lives?
    The fact is that the public BUY these newspapers and the editors actually believe this is what the public want to read. If this is what you want to read then carry on buying these papers but of it is not what you want to read then STOP buying them - simple.
    The idiot editors have no compassion to the HURT they cause the partners and families of these so-called celebrities and they obviously do NOT care.
    They actually believe it is their duty to spy and report – NO IT IS NOT
    Anyone from John Major to Wayne Rooney is affected, time for privacy laws and time for the general public to say NO MORE to these gutter press idiots.
    If anyone, other than his immediate family, are really that interested in Wayne Rooney or any other footballers off field shenanigans then you are very sad indeed.
    I would love to see every football fan boycott the entire press for 1 month or longer

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    Of course he should play.

    If anything all this coming out should do him good. He's clearly known about the press having the story on him for some time. At least now it's in the open I'm hoping it will free him up a bit.

  • Comment number 65.

    The Rooney and Terry situations are completely different - Terry's actions also impacted on team-mates.

    Rooney's an idiot, but if his head's right he should play.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 66.

    I think the real people we should be annoyed at here are the tabloid newspapers who consitantly try to catch people out and ruin thr lives of england players and their familes simply to make more money for themselvs.

    ---------------

    No, the real villains of the piece are the idiots who buy the rag this rubbish is reported in. This is a matter between Rooney and his wife and we have no business knowing or commenting on any of it. But millions buy it, so they will keep printing it.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    That is not to say that bringing back Lampard is the answer, but it is to say we have one of the worst and unimaginative midfields I have ever seen.
    --------------

    While this is a little over the top, it really is time Huddlestone was looked at properly for England, his passing is fantastic (and imaginative) and his mobility is much improved.

  • Comment number 69.

    So much has been made of a story that should really only be told in glossy magazines. There is absolutely no case to drop him, nor should he have pulled out himself.

  • Comment number 70.

    The Rooney issue is a tough one - #59 phil: taken 'on a purely footballing view' you say Capello's made the right decision picking Wayne because of his excellent 'demeanour and approach in training'; but wasn't the same thing said during the World Cup when people were openly questioning if the same player had 'something' on his mind that was distracting him making him play like a shadow of his former self - even though he seemed okay in training?

    Can't agree with Carlo Ancelotti's comments regarding a player's private life not being important or Capello on one hand stripping Terry of his captaincy but defending Rooney by saying he 'didn't drop' JT from the actual team either!! If you go through the England squad most seem to have questionable morals and suppose he'd have to drop a few - Rooney, Crouch, Defoe, Lampard, Terry. We should be fantastic at playing 'away' though ;)

    If ethics or morals have no role to play in modern sport, what is the need for this kind of journalism...we might aswell just print the simple 'damning' statistics. The scoring charts would be interesting reading anyway!

    Lescott to reform familiar partnership with Jaglielka tonight. Looks odds-on for a draw after media distractions have played their usual well timed role.

  • Comment number 71.

    I will try and beat the moderator yet again with no blasphemy or obnoxious comments that may upset Phil!
    Rooney has yet to [prove himself at world class level and yet the media insist he plays in every single match.
    The manager of England must take some blame of England's woeful performances and have yet to get the best out of the majority of players.
    It has taken Capello months to realize that Rooney is better in an attacking midfield position. He never was a centre forward and never will be.
    Capello gets paid six million a year to figure these simple things out when the fan actually pays money to watch the catastrophic displays over the major tournaments.
    The media and public in general are at fault for heaping praise on a good player who has failed to deliver on the big stage.
    Rooney should be treated no different than the rest of the England squad who have earned the right to play for their country and then perhaps we would get players playing to their full potential.
    One player does not make a team as Messi and Ronaldp found out in SA.
    In fact I think it detrimental to the team performance to continually choose one player over the squad!
    The hero worship has to stop and perhaps then we may see a real team effort.

  • Comment number 72.

    61. At 09:35am on 07 Sep 2010, Bruce Buck Is A Legend wrote:
    its funny when rooney has a scandal going on..

    all the comments im reading up here are all about

    "forget what wazza does offf the pitch.. hes our best player"
    "forget his off the pitch activites, its on the pitch that counts"
    "as long as he performs on the pitch, i dont care what he does"

    well you werent too keen on keeping your nose out of terry's business were you, when that was all going down..

    ---------

    To a degree I agree with you, but the fact that Terry alleged indiscretion involved another player did indicate that there were problems with him being captain. For me, if he plays, he should be captain - as I think he was courageous to take on Capello during the world cup and showed he is a leader. However I think he will find it hard to get in the team ahead of Cahill and Dawson (Jagielka is competing with Ferdinand imo).

    Otherwise, it is none of my business what he, Cashley or Rooney do off the field, and I have been consistant on that - despite being vehemently anti Chelsea!

  • Comment number 73.

    Just on the issue of how the Rooney treatment compares with the treatment of Terry, it is my recollection that Capello didn't do anything about Terry for days, and nor did he have to because there wasn't an England fixture, but because of the unrelenting press coverage Capello's hand was forced.

    It is a useful conincidence for Rooney (though not by any design from the NOTW who I suspect may be trying to deflect attention from a certain phone tapping issue) that he has the chance to get on with playing football almost straight away. After today, it becomes man U's problem.

    Anyway, I would pick the following team for tonight:-

    Hart
    Johnson - Cahill - Jagielka - Cole
    Milner - Barry - Gerrard - Johnson
    Defoe - Rooney

    It pretty much picks itself really. Cahill came on for Dawson so why not follow on with that. I would have Johnson and Milner on the wings rather than include Walcott because I think that Johnson offers more than Walcott. Personally, I think there is something special with Johnson that could see him go along way in his career.

  • Comment number 74.

    There is no bigger contradiction than writing on a public board that Rooney needs to sort out his 'private life'.

    Unfortunately this is the world that these players live in and nothing about them seems to be private anymore, to be honest, I don't think anybody other than Ronney, His Wife, His Child and the woman in question have any right to give their opinion.

    If these allegations had not come out this weekend, nobody would be questioning whether or not Wayne would play tonight, however, some papers are reporting that him and Coleen had a huge bust up on Friday, hours before Rooney gave a blinder at Wembley!

  • Comment number 75.

    Totally agree that it should be a football matter only but how long into the match will it take for the Swiss to wind him up and get England down to 10 men? Most people couldn't handle the inevitable jibes without reacting let alone Rooney who is the hottest head in the team and - as we've read this week - doesn't always do the mature thing. He clearly is an amazing talent and when focussed one of the best in the world but to put him into such a situation perhaps lacks judgement by Capello in my humble opinion....discipline is a football matter only but for the success of the team, he should bring put him on the bench.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    I can't believe people are still comparing this to the Terry Bridge incident. Yes both are socially wrong and the men should be told so by their friends and family (not the press and people with no connection to their private lives). The difference is that Terrys actions involved an international team mate and had the potential to deeply unsettle the international dressing room. Rooney's actions do not involve anyone but his family and therefore should not influence his sporting life at all, except of course if he is not in the correct frame of mind but Capello obviously thinks he is so that should be an end of the matter.

    As for the debate about team selection, Jagielka has been a top class centre back for a long time and if it hadn't been for his knee injury I think he would have been first choice for england for a while. Therefore unless he suffers a loss of form he should now be considered first choice foe england.

  • Comment number 78.

    #41
    I think the real people we should be annoyed at here are the tabloid newspapers who consitantly try to catch people out and ruin thr lives of england players and their familes simply to make more money for themselvs.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is their job to sell newspapers and if people want to read this stuff that is what they will get. Footballers contribute much to the Celeb culture..And if the likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Crouch, Acole and Terry and their WAGS like to be in the papers you can't complain when it comes back and bites you can you?

    They constantly disrupt the england team with these stories, and tried to cost us the world cup bid with the story about Lord Triesman which cost him his job?? Who did that benifit?? Certainly not the average England fan!!!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lord Triesman disclosed information to his 'companion'! He was the one largely at fault..

    You could always go back to the cosy days of journalists and footballers when plenty did not get reported and they were still marketed as special ones without the flaws..now we get to know the flaws as well. And as a Celeb if you want to take large pots of money from sponsors such as Nike and Pepsi then they want a role model who will be 'clean'..

    Why do we never get to read about the good things players do?? Just this weekend gone, Jamie Carragher raised a huga sum of money for charites with his testimonial for liverpool but this barely gets a mention??
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And well done on JC but I cleary read about it and so did you..but I'm not sure it will generate days worth of stories

    This situation does not happen in other countries, Wayne Rooneys personel life should be just that. The fact he gets paid alot of money is because he is one of the best in the world at what he does, and this does not give us the right to expect him to be perfect in everyway all the time
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes it does..Frank Ribery!?! It doesn't happen in countries where players and journalists have a cosy relationship.

    And Wayno gets paid a lot of money from sponsors who expect him to project a 'clean' image..so he becomes fair game..no one is perfect but once you take sponsors money and rake in huge amounts of dosh from advertisers who sell to kids your life is no longer private (and that was HIS CHOICE btw)..so please don't defend the lifestyles of the rich and famous and their lack of privacy..

  • Comment number 79.

    Will be interesting to see how crowds respond to Rooney at the next home game. I was at Wembley for the match against Egypt and Terry was roundly booed until one crunching tackle reminded people of his talent on the field. At the end of the day Rooney had an awful world cup and kept his place so I didn't doubt for one second capello would play him in spite of the latest revelations.

    Personally I think Jagielka should play with Upson and give Cahill a chance if we get a big lead. I think whether he should keep his place when the stalwarts are fit depends on the form of Rio, Terry and Jagielka. There should be no "untouchables" in the England team (including Rooney). If they are not performing then give them time to regain their form with their club side before inviting them back in. The players that play for England should be (injury permitting) the best players in their positions who can play in the system the manager chooses.

    I thought Bulgaria were poor and from what I've seen of Switzerland they may just provide more of a test in their backyard (though I still expect England to win).

  • Comment number 80.

    Phil- Good blog.
    Rooney's 'head' now seems to be in the right place - probably because(according to the papers)he told his wife the full story (whatever that maybe) last week, before it hit the Headlines!
    I suspect therefore it will be a bit of a relief to Rooney to be able to concentrate on his football, rather than on what the press may have to say -and after all they say "confession' is good for the soul" and "out of adversity.....etc.etc", lets hope so - I am sure Fabio does!
    I liked what I saw of the roles Rooney , Gerrard and Defoe were given against Bulgeria, expect to see the same against Switzerland!

  • Comment number 81.

    21. At 10:22pm on 06 Sep 2010, eccles45 wrote:
    14. At 9:54pm on 06 Sep 2010, Meerschaum_221B wrote:

    "Never felt as indifferent and alienated from the England team as I do now.The arrogance of Capello, the attitude of Rooney etc"

    What is the matter with you ?

    "attitude of Rooney" ????????????

    What exactly is wrong with Rooney's attitude as exemplified on Friday ?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------- Talking about Rooney's attitude in general - like making a spectacle of himself mouthing off at the camera's after the Algeria game. I just don't like the personalities within the England set up.Terry, Rooney, Capello.Adam Johnson and Joe Hart are the few exceptions seeming to have a genuine professional passion when playing for their team.On the whole though I couldn't care less for this bunch of dull,arrogant egos.Incidentally, if you don't other peoples opinions you should steer clear of places like this.

  • Comment number 82.

    Whether it's the right decision to pick Rooney or not remains to be seen, though I do wish our Footballers who are paid vast sums of money to represent their clubs & countries would accept that with such high wages comes a responsibility to train hard, give their very best & try to act as impeccable role models to the community. The irony that strikes me in this whole affair is that it appears that you have to be a bad boy to get Capello's support & to know that you will be playing. Perhaps if Robert Green had been a bad boy prior to the World Cup, Capello might have told him he was definitely playing in the USA game & he might have been able to go out with confidence & not looking nervously over his shoulder & that infamous (& extremely uncharacteristic) error may never have happened and history could have been a lot different...... One can only surmise, though a bit more consistency from Capello wouldn't go amiss. I for one long for the day we get an English manager, who wears his heart on his sleeve (a la Stuart Pearce) & does the job for national pride, not just to pick up a pay cheque. Bring back El Tel!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    71. At 10:02am on 07 Sep 2010, jack halford wrote:

    He never was a centre forward and never will be.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    Wow. 34 goals in a season sure is a good return for someone who 'never was a centre forward and never will be'.

    Plum.

  • Comment number 84.

    this is my third go at making this point - the moderators have beaten me twice already, so i'll keep it light and concise...

    in this blog you write: "Capello is the ultimate pragmatist".

    hang on a sec, Mcnulty, didn't you write....

    June 28: "his almost pre-historic obsession with 4-4-2 led his side over the precipice"

    June 27: "Capello had as undistinguished a World Cup as his players, showing tactical INFLEXIBILITY by relying on the goal-shy old warhorse Emile Heskey"

    well?

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    To MrBlueBurns...don't see why Cahill shouldn't get the nod. Upson is clearly down the pecking order, as we saw from Capello's selection on Friday, while Lescott did not appear to register on his radar yesterday.

    You advocate Adam Johnson ahead of Theo Walcott. I'm torn on that one and would have no problem with either playing.

    Where I do agree with you is that I do think Johnson has something a bit special. I've watched him playing for Manchester City quite a lot and he is direct, can cut inside to great effect (see goal against Bulgaria) and just makes things happen.

    He was often in the shadow of Stewart Downing at Middlesbrough, but for me he is the vastly superior talent. I certainly understand why he is picked ahead of Shaun Wright-Phillips at club level.

    One man who I feel needs to start producing more for England is Glen Johnson. Is it harsh for me to suggest that he is only getting such a consistent run of selection because there is currently no obvious alternative at right-back?

    Let me know your thoughts on these issues.

  • Comment number 87.

    It's amazing. Everyone is talking about whether Capello should drop Rooney, from a game in which he doesn't personally get a penny. (No he shouldn't drop him BTW.)

    I've not heard anyone talk about whether Ferguson will drop him from games which earn him over 5 million a Year.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    yeah i see what you're saying harrydisciple.

    the thing that gets me is

    wayne bridge hadnt been picked for an england squad for a long time

    he was no longer an "INTERNATIONAL" team mate

    and why shouldnt rooneys episode cause any fractures in the dressing room and why should terrys debacle cause any fractures in the dressing room.

    its all double standards with the media who then influence the fans

    anything thing with terry and ashley gets them abuse, hate mail, boos from the fans

    anything with rooney is off the pitch and should stay off it and also we should be wary of rooneys mental state of mind as it is fragile.

  • Comment number 90.

    @86

    No Phil, I don't think it's harsh. Exciting as he is to watch rampaging forward, anywhere behind the halfway line he looks completely lost. In a way I wish his standing foot hash-up had resulted in an own goal on Friday, if only to open Capello's eyes to his deficiencies properly. His positioning and defensive radar are really very poor.

    But who else is there? Brown has retired, Neville's never going to be playing enough games. Same with Naughton/Walker at Spurs.

    Micah Richards? Similar problems. Real talents and strengths, but can look so hopelessly lost sometimes.

    It's a worry, and I can see a silly mistake by Glenda undoing a lot of good work at a major tournament.

  • Comment number 91.

    ".....fit and edging towards his world-class best," that had me rolling with laughter

  • Comment number 92.

    #86 Phil McNulty

    In terms of team/player selection, I guess I look at these things in a logical fashion and then, if needs be, add a little personal judgement then come to a decision. Many seem to jump all over the place with their idea's and then have trouble explaining them.

    So, if Cahill was considered the man, from those available, to replace Dawson then it seems to make sense to carry on with that. I would give two reasons for that; 1) Upson has already demonstrated, with enough chances, his abilities and, perhaps most importantly, his limitations. We do not yet know Cahill's limitations, assuming that there are some, so let's ride that wave and see where it takes us. Also, I think (but may be wrong) that Cahill has had a good start to the season, whereas Upson has not and in the event of a tie breaker, form must be an issue. Reason 2) I think to approach team selection in this way is clear and coherent and should be understood by other players in the squad or wider and if variances are explained, should engender respect from all concerned.

    Let us the fans and the press not try to trick Capello by questioning his decisions, let's let him explain them and try to understand why he does what he does. In my opinion, too many in the press try to make themselves look clever by acting like they know it all and it just backfires on them.

    As we agree on Adam Johnson I think again, let's ride the wave. Walcott is far too inconsistent for my liking. Let's go with Johnson and see if he offers the consistency that we're after.

    SWP has, time and again for England and Chelsea (i.e. at the top levels) showed that he is left wanting. Shouldn't be in the squad and shouldn't have been in South Africa ahead of Johnson or Walcott in my opinion. I think Capello missed a trick there and was perhaps too cautious. I expect that caution to be put to one side now that, you could argue, he has nothing to lose.

    Glen Johnson? Used to make me have kittens in his Chelsea days (a complete rabbit caught in the headlights against Barcelona one year) and whilst that was some time ago, progress, which there has been, has been slow. But as you say, who are the alternatives? Who is right back for the U21's is a question.

    p.s. I'm not able to draw you on potential ulterior motives on the timing by NOTW then ;-)

  • Comment number 93.

    @Chuck Norris is a Stoke fan

    How, precisely, can England have won 20% less games sans Rooney if Rooney hasn't even failed to play that many games? O.o

    Further I find it hilarious that you say that Mr McNulty (what's all this "Phil" business? What happened to common courtesy?) was presumptious and hadn't done stat-checking, and then you clearly state ("something like") that you haven't actually done any either!

  • Comment number 94.

    He should have been dropped, players can't just 'do the talking on the pitch' as they say. Castrate me if you will but he was a role model and something should have been done otherwise what does it say to kids? Just like when I said Walcott should have gone to SA, everyone thought I was crazy but I can see this backfiring somehow.

  • Comment number 95.

    91. At 11:24am on 07 Sep 2010, MugabelovestheEPL wrote:
    ".....fit and edging towards his world-class best," that had me rolling with laughter

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Wow. What an existence.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    zionsirons - I think el Tel might have been the start of the rot behind the scenes. he's hardly impecable now...

  • Comment number 98.

    I hope Rooney does play, if only to demonstrate that the manager picks the team not the tabloids. Right now it's hard not to sympathise with Capello: not only does he have to assemble a credible team out of what's left over after after injuries and 'retirement from international football' have taken their toll, it also appears that he faces a sustained effort to undermine England's progress from a tabloid press that functions as a fifth column working on behalf of every nation that Englad has to face.
    The best idea I've seen for countering this ongoing qualification hell is be found over on Serious Football in the 'FIFA's Big Gamble' piece - automatic qualification for past winners would solve many of our problems!

  • Comment number 99.

    Not going to dwell on the rooney debacle too long as fully agree with a lot of other posters that these stories are getting so, so tedious. I also agree with rooney starting the game tonight, provided the team manager thinks he is the right man - that as ever should be the only consideration.

    I do seem to be one of the few people who would actually like to see footballers act as role models - no they don't HAVE to be role models but i think it would be make for a better world if some of them did. I also don't particularly care for those who try to validate rooneys actions as none of our business - if we know about it then we are allowed to have an opinion on it, whether we should know about is another matter entirely. I'm sure rooney himself is not feeling very proud of himself at the moment and it is real shame for all concerned. In the defence of those who have reacted strongly in rooneys favour i imagine a lot of it has to do with a back lash against the tabloid press, who once again have made it the business to target the england national team like the parasites that they are.

    As for the game tonight i would like to echo the comments above regarding Johnson. I really can't quite believe how good he is and how much potential he has. I would definately start him tonight and then bring walcott off the bench. I would actually like to see him come on for defoe late in the game to give him 10 - 15 mins upfront but i am probably in the minority there.

  • Comment number 100.

    Everyone asking rooney to focus on football and play for England and ignore his family is nothing but disgraceful. so playing for england is more important right now than how coleen and kai feel about all these. Shows where his priorities lie.

    I am really amazed at how it is possible for someone to have all this storm brewing in his private life and still be able to focus on football.

    Even if the allegations are false, phil, shouldnt capello, you and the media be encouraging rooney to drop all england football aspirations for now and face sorting out this mess?

 

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