World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Sven shows Fergie his ruthless side

phil_mcnulty.gifBADEN-BADEN - Easily the most dramatic day so far at England's opulent World Cup media centre.

Early whispers that Sven-Goran Eriksson would read a brief, prepared statement on Wayne Rooney's fitness then decline further questions set the pulses racing for the world's media.

And Eriksson did not disappoint in what was seen by almost everyone afterwards as putting Sir Alex Ferguson firmly in his place when it comes to Rooney's immediate World Cup future.

My take was that this was very much an "I'm in charge" message to those wondering who will decide Rooney's World Cup destiny.

The statement was cleverly pitched, appealing to "40m England fans" - knowing every last one (bar maybe a few inside Old Trafford) wants to see Rooney in action in Germany.

It was a show of steel Eriksson normally keeps away from the public gaze - but an impressive piece of authority which may raise a smirk or two from those used to Sir Alex and United calling the shots.

Eriksson and the FA's insistence that there should be no further questions or comment on the Rooney affair was always going to fall on deaf ears.

A German colleague asked me would the English media faithfully adhere to this request and strike Rooney from the questions on their agenda. The laughter gave her a clue.

Not a chance. Not on this story.

So it proved as the FA media representatives had to struggle to keep the debate away from Rooney when David Beckham and Steven Gerrard were wheeled in.

There was a real buzz afterwards as journalists gave their own interpretation on what might have been the coded messages in Sven's missive.

Why am I certain we have not heard the last of this?

Do you think Sven was laying down the law to Sir Alex over Rooney? Let me know.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:47 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Jez Thompson wrote:

Yup, Sir Alex was obviously not happy about the situation this is probably why it took over 2hrs last night to decide.

Sven is saying i am in charge its my world cup not yours.

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  • 2.
  • At 03:58 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • John Cleland wrote:

It is very disappointing to see the lack of respect shown to Alex Ferguson. When you look carefully he has always done a fantastic job in bringing through the foundations of a generation of English players (Beckham and Neville, Butt and Scholes who did an immense job for the Three Lions). He always seems to constantly abused, despite being one of the great managers ever. A complete lack of respect for one of the games greatest. I'm in no way at Man Utd fan, but he is quite entitled to have a say on Rooney's injury and he should be respected, not abused by hysterical supporters and the sensational media coverage.

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  • 3.
  • At 03:58 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • billynic wrote:

Whilst Ms Goody's spelling lets her down again! It seems Sven has been saving up all his passion and steely determination since he arrived as coach for the following 5 weeks!! Good luck to him!

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  • 4.
  • At 04:01 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • PM29 wrote:

Come on, let's get a grip here.
If Fergie didn't want Rooney to go out to Germany, he wouldn't have gone.
If Fergie wants to pull him out again, he'll pull him out.
All this 'Sven in charge' stuff is nonsense!
And has anyone thought what happens if Michael Owen breaks down again?
Jermain Defoe had to be in the squad!

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  • 5.
  • At 04:41 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Ranbir wrote:

Doesn't Fergie have the club authority to refuse Rooney an England call up? (sort of like, limiting 45 mins a game, but completely removing them)

Or is that just friendlies? :\

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  • 6.
  • At 04:42 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Michaeljc23 wrote:

Don't FIFA rules say that country gets preference out of club, so Fergie wouldn't have been able to pull him out at all.

Man Utd has always tried to interfere with England and the sad fact is a large number of United fans don't support the national team.

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  • 7.
  • At 04:45 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • PM29 wrote:

I've just seen a feature on Sky Sports News on Rooney the pig, whose trotter is getting better, just like Wayne's...
I think I'm going mad...

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  • 8.
  • At 04:52 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Liam Blair wrote:

It is clear that Sven, the man England fans USED to love to hate, is simply now attempting to put one over on United and Sir Alex.

This is merely because Sven couldn't give a care for Rooney's long term recuperation: by then, HE will be in Madrid. Typical that Engerland fans have such collective myopia whenever Sir Alex and United are mentioned.

And no wonder United fans sing "Argentina!" - who by the way will have the final say on England's deluded destiny "to win the Woirld Cup". (sic)

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  • 9.
  • At 04:56 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Faris wrote:

Great to see Rooney back, but I'm worried, since they're sending Defoe back. Owen is a joke, by now everyone should have realised that. He's fully fit, match fit; we don't need Ericson and co telling us he's not fully fit and he's not performing to his full potential. He's a disaster. We need Defoe.

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  • 10.
  • At 05:04 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Steve Kimmitt wrote:

It is important to establish exactly who now has the final say on whether or not Rooney is to play ,as it threatens to divert concentration from the important games coming up .
As a red blooded Scotsman Sir Alex
cannot seriously be bothered whether or not Rooney actually plays in the world cup ,only on the longer term implicatios for his future at Manchester United .Therefore he is almost bound to be overly protective
of what is his best club asset . It is therefore important that an independent
(medical )authority has the final
abiding power of decision in this matter .

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  • 11.
  • At 05:06 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Ross wrote:

It's true, playing a world cup (hopefully close to seven matches in England's case) is too risky with your two main strikers not fully fit and without a decent amount of backup. Crouch has improved a lot recently, bar the dancing, but Defoe should be there as well just as an extra option.

Problem is, who gets dropped? Anyone would be gutted to be sent home from the World Cup a day before it starts.

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  • 12.
  • At 05:09 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • LiamK wrote:

It's great and all to see Rooney back, but the media coverage was as if it was a state funeral. Yes he is the difference between winning the world cup and losing the world cup, but every slight movement was captured: the main culprits being Sky Sports News (as ever).

P.s Drop Owen Hargreaves. And Theo Walcott. How dare they be picked. Defoe has been cheated

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  • 13.
  • At 05:24 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

To keep Defoe would always be the safer option - but it still doesnt inspire huge amounts of confidence! He hasn't played that well all season or that much to be honest but its still more than Wallcott - his selection is still a bit of a joke to me!

lets keep our fingers crossed that owen hits form and crouchy continues his - but can you imagine if rooney gets injured again? Sven wont care but i can see Fergie taking the whole thing to court!!!!!!

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  • 14.
  • At 05:38 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • PM29 wrote:

Who gets dropped? Simple - Walcott. Nothing against him, obvious quality, but can you imagine what went through Defoe and for that matter Bent's minds when they were told he was in the squad ahead of them? Defoe has the proven class, Bent scored 20-plus goals in the Premiership, Walcott has yet to feature in the Premiership. It just doesn't make sense.

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  • 15.
  • At 05:45 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Sideliner wrote:

How is it possible to get the previous message : At 05:06 PM on 08 Jun 2006, Ross wrote, when it is 04:43 PM now

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  • 16.
  • At 05:47 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • J Lawrence wrote:

Playing for one's country is certainly important. But Rooney's future fitness and health are very important as well...both professionally and personally. I hope that the doctors representing the England squad and FIFA aren't jumping the gun here.

Janet

(lordcelery.blogspot.com)

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  • 17.
  • At 05:55 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Phil McNulty - chief football writer wrote:

In answer to those of you who have questioned whether Manchester United can ask Fifa to step in if they believe Eriksson is rushing Rooney back, the simple answer is they can't.

Rooney is under England's jurisdiction now that he is in the World Cup squad and they will have the final word on if and when he plays.

Eriksson is happy to do United the courtesy of taking in any specialist they want when he has decided he is match fit.

But as the England coach made very clear, the final say is his and Rooney's.

Now we must simply trust his judgement to get it right.

And so must Sir Alex Ferguson.

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  • 18.
  • At 06:01 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Why is it every tournament we enter is always followed with the worst press ever. I live in Germany and I can tell you all, the Germans are laughing themselves silly at us. Give our boys a chance and let them play football without all this media coverage over Rooneys foot and Gerrards back. England can win this World Cup!!! The last time Brazil won the World Cup in europe was in 1958 in Sweden and such a good team have they at this moment NOT. The Germans have the worst team ever in a World Cup, so back our boys up with the press and don't always run them down.
"COME ON ENGLAND"

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  • 19.
  • At 06:15 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Mark Hirst wrote:

If you pay £28 million for a football player I think you have every right to be concerned for their well-being. Wayne will want to play whatever the circumstances and I think it's good that we have the Manchester United staff to keep things in perspective, after all surely the most important thing is that we keep wayne fit and injury free long term.

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  • 20.
  • At 06:15 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Jonathan wrote:

and please folks, Owen is quality. Those of you who doubt him, just look at the goals he's scored for club(s) and country when it really counts. Even an Owen operating at 60% is worth taking.

Perhaps the solution is obvious - send all the strikers home - bring in 4 more midfielders and rely exclusively on goals coming from outside the box. It'd be novel and unexpected...!!!

(kidding)

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  • 21.
  • At 06:16 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Mike Neal wrote:

A question to Phil McNulty in response to his blog entry, who is paying Rooneys salary whilst he is under Englands jurisdiction? The FA? I dont think so!

Do the FA care if he suffers a reaction to his injury? Or are they only interested in his participation at the World Cup? I suspect the latter.

Who is going to cover for Rooney at Manchester United if suffers a re-occurence of his injury and is out of action for three months or more?

Who compensates Manchester United for the loss of points and possible loss of income from the latter stages of the Champions League if Rooney suffers further injury to his foot?

I say it again, why should we as supporters of Manchester United want to see our best player run the risk of suffering a recurrence of his injury satisfying the lust for glory of supporters who will next season abuse him once again.

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  • 22.
  • At 06:21 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • David wrote:

I would regard myself as a genuine part-time(very) football fan but I always enjoy the World Cup. The hysteria being generated over Rooney is incredible. I sometimes think the press WANT to find a reason for us NOT to win.

Rooney is important but he's not the only player in the team. Every World Cup throws up spectacular performances often from players who were unknown. Give our guys a chance - apparently even Pele thinks the Cup is between England and Brazil and he ought to know something.

It all sounds a bit like Greaves being dropped in 1966 -- well, the rest is history......

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  • 23.
  • At 06:24 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • PM29 wrote:

Brazil - won it in 94, r-up (in Europe) in 98, won it 2002, Ronaldhino (who, to be fair, hasn't played that well since the turn of the year), Ronaldo, Adriano, Kaka, Roberto Carlos, Cafu - even the keeper is quality now. And forget not winning it in Europe - all their players play in Europe! Favourites and justifiably so.

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  • 24.
  • At 06:30 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Joe Davies wrote:

Can you imagine if rooney gets injured during the world cup, or even worse, ends his career? I really do not think this will happen after seeing the images of him in training (and that lunge on john terry lol), but right on the back of that g14 incident with that belgian club, and considering the power manchester united have globally as a club, with david gill being members of both the FA now as well as that g14 group, if something to rooney happens in this world cup you can bet your life the FA will be taken to court by manchester united, and whats more, United will win.

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  • 25.
  • At 06:34 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Matthew wrote:

With just nine goals and no superior attributes to those currently in the squad, Defoe would send me to shivers he started for England. For me, he is associated with a failing England side - he would keep on running but ultimately not have the class to find a key opening to change matches. I'm afraid he is not a match or World Cup winner. The Spurs fans seem desparate for some reason - perhaps due to an Arsenal youngster taking his place.

And well done Eriksson. If he had only shown this character from the start, the public may have taken to him more. I'm starting to feel he should not have been made to leave - but we'll see what progress is made in Germany. With Rooney's state, there is no opportunity for Ferguson to ruin the party and there is no question over Rooney's "long term recuperation".

Despite doing my best to pull away from the patriotic fever, even I am believing England can do really well, although I cannot visualise them winning it. But bets are still on for a quarter-final exit.

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  • 26.
  • At 06:34 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

Ask yourself this - if Man United were playing a European Cup Final in 2 weeks' time, do you think they might have a different opinion on how far away Rooney is from match fitness? I think they might!

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  • 27.
  • At 07:12 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Danny wrote:

It's not just Sven. The FA are the real playground bully in all this.

Football is a huge money making business, and the simple fact is that Rooney sells. whilst Theo may be the new kid on the block I'd wager a small fortune on the name on the back of the fans shirts at home and in Germany come the latter stages.....and it isn't Walcott.

Whatever the reason, and I do hope it's in the best interests of Roo - it will be great to see him pull on the jersey, probably for a cameo in the Sweden game for starters - our chances are certainly better with him than without.

By the way - how do I add my blog to the links? Pop on over to The Crouch Dance at www.thecrouchdance.co.uk

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Being a Man Utd fan I totally understand Fergie's view, we invested the money and time with him, we deserve a say no matter what happens. For Sven to take this stance of 'I'm in charge; just gives United more bad publicity.

Like Fergie said, if there was one player we want at the World Cup getting that experience it would be him

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  • 29.
  • At 07:19 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Ranbir wrote:

This is all too risky.

Rooney might get to play, but it's a bit obvious he'll never be 100%.

Chances he'll go out there and get a worse injury, stunting his career and blowing England's for any short term future successes.

This isn't going to be his final World Cup...unless he's rushed into it. Bad move.

We need doctors to make the decision, not the players. Obviously the players will say "I'm ok" and probably end up hurting themselves because they really aren't. I've seen enough teenage sitcoms to know that young players that want to play will not do what is best for them. And Rooney might be a few days older than me, he's still a kid. This just has an eerie feel about it.

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  • 30.
  • At 07:48 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Andrew Luck wrote:

Not to say Sven doesn't care about Rooney's future, but of course Sven would say he has the last call - its his last month in charge of England, he wants as much of Rooney as he can get.

Fergie obviously doesn't want him playing because it could jeopardise his Manchester United futur if he gets a bad injury again - and Fergie wouldn't have had a say in it, and he wouldn't be happy. Ferguson and United should definately have at least an equal standing to decide if Rooney can play or not; leaving the decision to Sven and Wayne means he will definately play a part, possibly earlier than he should be.

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  • 31.
  • At 08:19 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • scott wrote:

now sad as it may seem there are some very 'unpatriotic' people posting on here aren't there?! good on Sven for taking the bull by the horns and saying he'll play him when he wants. so he should. since when has Sir Alex Ferguson ever had the best interests of England, English football or for that matter anything other than himself or Manchester United at heart? I think the bottom line is that Wayne Rooney WANTS to play in the world cup, regardless of what people decide, or who pays his wages. This is a stage on which you cannot pay to play, and i believe that he would be prapared to play in just one final, even if he knew he'd never play another game. Thats the make-up of the lad, and so it should be. That is what defines an English player and is a rare and praise-worthy attribute. Forget all this 'who should make the decision' non-sense, he has enlisted his services, of his own will i add, to an ENGLAND team and an ENGLAND MANAGER. His manager for the next few weeks is Sven Goran-Eriksson. Fergie will just have to hope his boy comes back ok, as we all, Sven included, do.... (but not too soon eh)

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  • 32.
  • At 08:28 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Rezwan wrote:

Eriksson's comments and the FA's arrogance are enough to make your blood boil. This is terribly unfair for both Rooney and Man Utd. Even if Rooney wanted to pull out, it would be impossible for him to do so. The FA and the press would villify him and harm his chances of playing in future tournaments. All of us remember what happened to Becks. This just makes me want to rpeat the famous Stretford End chant: 'Stick ur England up ur **se.'

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  • 33.
  • At 09:32 PM on 08 Jun 2006,
  • Paul N. wrote:

Man Utd vs England

If Man Utd want to play in Premiership, they have to abide by their rules.

The Premier League have to abide by the FA's rules.

The FA have to abide by UEFA's rules and they in turn, have to abide by FIFA's rules.

Man Utd can only make the profits that they do (good luck to them, by the way, I've got no problem with that) if they do what FIFA say, or take a walk ... and they wouldn't much cop on the outside, would they?

So, - to all those Man Utd fans who don't care about England - I'm afraid it's tough luck.

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It's not about not caring for England it's about the player in the long term, should anything happen to him it will ruin Man Utd's team and England's in the long term, as we have such a promising footballer, and they dont come along every year!

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Rooney's international status has probably afforded United another executive box or two inside Old Trafford, which they would do well to remember when England enforce their right to take a player to a World Cup, once every four years.

If Ferguson hadn't made United so reliant on one player, there wouldn't be this much fuss.

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  • 36.
  • At 01:45 AM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Gerald O'Connell wrote:

Uncle Sven is positioning himself as the nice guy who wants to let Wayne play with his chums, unlike that nasty Fergie who wants to stop all Wayne's World Cup fun. Fergie will be angry with Wayne and very mean to him when he goes back to Man Utd for pre-season training, but Uncle Sven will be managing Real Madrid by then, and will say 'Come and play with your chum David and all these other superstars.' Wayne won't realise that Madrid is not a seaside town, and will be keen to play for nice Uncle Sven. Fergie will go ballistic when the Glazer family are thrilled by the prospect of making a £33 million profit on Wayne, but no matter how ballistic he goes it won't make any difference. As Everton discovered, when money talks, Wayne walks...

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