World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Sven turns the tables on Ferguson

phil_mcnulty.gifON A BUS BOUND FOR FRANKFURT - The fall-out from Sven-Goran Eriksson's brief but dramatic address about Wayne Rooney is still the day's hot topic as we move along the autobahn to Frankfurt for England's opening game tomorrow.

Even Eriksson's detractors were impressed by the way he finally laid the law down to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - a bit like a wife who has been nagged once too often and finally decided to chuck her husband's suitcases on the front step.

The worm certainly turned - and almost everyone here with England has said "good on Sven", with the most galling part for the usually all-powerful Sir Alex being that there is not a single thing he can do about it.

And for all the talk of rows, doctors, insurance and injuries, Sven has got the bit between his teeth and the word is we will be seeing Rooney sooner rather than later, whether Ferguson and Manchester United like it or not.

Eriksson, a man with little to lose apart from a World Cup, will not be having any dealings with either party come the start of July, so he can make his decision confident he won't be getting the hair-dryer (or Herr Dryer as The Mirror brilliantly put it) treatment from Ferguson down the line.

Of course this is a story that simply won't go away, and in amid all the theatrics there may be one man smiling a little nervously.

Namely England boss-in-waiting Steve McClaren.

He has a good relationship with both Eriksson and Ferguson, but you just wonder whether he will be seeing Wayne for too many friendlies after this fracas.

Sir Alex, like an elephant, never forgets. And he certainly won't forget being made to look as powerless as he has in the last 48 hours, with everyone who has ever felt his wrath having a little chuckle behind their hands.

England may have won this battle, but McClaren could be the man who loses the war.

As we move forward to Frankfurt, the adventure is over for Jermain Defoe, who is returning home to England after Rooney's recovery meant he had to drop out of the squad.

I'd love to know what England's players feel about this in the light of their comments about Defoe. Could it be they are not happy to see him go?

Listen to David Beckham: "Jermain is one of the best strikers in Europe - no doubt."

Step forward Steven Gerrard: "Jermain has been really professional and showed a great attitude in training. He's a fantastic talent and it is sad to see him go home."

Don't you think they might have mentioned this to Sven before he picked Owen Hargreaves or Theo Walcott?

England are not alone in having burning selection issues.

Germany captain Michael Ballack has been doing a bit of hokey-cokey about his own chances of playing in the opening game against Costa Rica.

He was out. Now according to today's German newspapers he's telling everyone he's in and wants to play.

Germany are clearly in total disarray. Get your money on them.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:41 AM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Warren wrote:

A bit of propaganda to bolster those German spirits?

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  • 2.
  • At 11:46 AM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Wes wrote:

Its good to see Sven taking a decision that will benefit England. Sometimes one has to take tough decisions.

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  • 3.
  • At 12:15 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Alex wrote:


Nice to see Sven gain the upper hand. The world clearly does not revolve around Mr Ferguson.

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  • 4.
  • At 12:16 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Jeffrey Booth wrote:

I want England to do well in the World Cup (ie win it) as much as anyone, but it isn't hard to see Ferguson's point of view. Eriksson didn't pay millions of pounds for Wayne Roney, United did. And they want their investment protected. I'm sure Ferguson has wondered which Paraguayan will be the first to jump on Rooney's foot.

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  • 5.
  • At 12:27 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • You Have 1 New Message wrote:

did Ferguson not say a few days back that he wanted Wayne Rooney to go to the world cup finals if fit? Didnt he also mentioned that the expirence would be invaluble for young Wayne, and benift Manchester United in Europe next season?

The sooner people stop jumping on the bandwagon and trying to fabricate an ill-feeling between Sven and Fergie the better.

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  • 6.
  • At 12:28 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

At long last Sven has shown he has a spine and has stood up to Herr Dryer (classic tabloid wit) a man who has made it his life's work to prove he is bigger and more important tahn any national side. If only we could trust to the fact that McLaren will continue in the same vein and not accept Sir Alex's withdrawal of players from International duty on grounds of health when there is clearly nothing wrong with them...let's all stick with the Swedish policy of play them and be damned, injured or not.

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  • 7.
  • At 12:34 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

Jeffrey, I don't think there's any possibility of Rooney playing tomorrow against Paraguay; I think Sven's thinking is that perhaps he would use him for some of the game against Sweden if he is looking match-fit by then.

The thing that interests me is whether Rooney, if and when he is ready to play, will replace Owen or Crouch in the formation? On current form, one would argue that it is the lanky latter who most deserves his place in the side. I suppose we'll have to see if Owen picks up form in the first games.

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  • 8.
  • At 12:36 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Mark Willis wrote:

Great to see someone standing up to Ferguson and his control-freak, bully-boy tactics.

I accept Man Utd pay Rooney a huge wage, but when a club purchases an international footballer - it does that with an understanding of everything that comes with it - including releasing the player for national team duties. Its like purchasing a house in the Lake District and then complaining that there are too many tourists!

You cannot have everything Alex and you cannot bully the whole world like its some extension of your Man Utd empire. This has been a long overdue "humility-class" for Ferguson, in my opinion.

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  • 9.
  • At 12:38 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Mark Willis wrote:

Great to see someone standing up to Ferguson and his control-freak, bully-boy tactics.

I accept Man Utd pay Rooney a huge wage, but when a club purchases an international footballer - it does that with an understanding of everything that comes with it - including releasing the player for national team duties. Its like purchasing a house in the Lake District and then complaining that there are too many tourists!

You cannot have everything Alex and you cannot bully the whole world like its some extension of your Man Utd empire. This has been a long overdue "humility-class" for Ferguson, in my opinion.

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  • 10.
  • At 12:42 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Oliver Yates wrote:

Alex Ferguson, April 14th-

‘All the hype about Wayne and the responsibility placed on him with England has taken its toll.

"To say he is the man who will win the World Cup this summer is the biggest load of nonsense I've heard in my life. He's still a kid who has a lot to learn. We will maybe have to wait two or three years for him to become the best'.

Alex Ferguson, May 16th-

'A lot of people might think I'm selfish, but Wayne is the most important player in the team at Manchester United'....

How's that for one-eyed hypocrisy? So its seemingly ok for Fergie and United to view Rooney as the central, most important component of their team (and flog him into the ground, playing 90 minutes of virtually every game this season, leading to his injury).

But for England to have the same view, well, how ridiculous- he's just a wee young lad who's nowhere nearly the finished article, yee Sassenachs mustnt rely on him so much blah blah blah....

Good on you Sven for putting him in his place!

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  • 11.
  • At 12:42 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • jk wrote:

Good old Sven, stands up to fergie when he knows he won't have to rely on his cooperation next year. Bet Mclaren can't wait 'til the next friendly

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  • 12.
  • At 12:46 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Tunde ajibola wrote:

ballack is the captain,ife he says he's be available, i think he should be allowed.being the backbone of the Germans,and being sure a slight injury can not beter him,he should be allowed to be. The warlord must be directin his troop isn't it?

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  • 13.
  • At 12:49 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • fred woplin wrote:

no need to worry about fergie taking revenge on mcclaren for humiliation
by sven.with rudd following beckham
out of man utd only next years premiership will save his job and with all the top midfielders rejecting his overtures he will be gone in less than 12 months

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I have to admit I will be sorry to see Sven go now regardless of how we do in the World Cup.

I hope he adopts this 'no nonsense' style from the touchline.

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  • 15.
  • At 01:02 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Stephen Ayankoya wrote:

The comments about SAF on the Rooney injury is so unfair its unbelievable. I would like to know any footbal club manager in his shoes who'll not act the same and protect his club's investment.If i may ask, how did Arsenal/Mr Wenger managed to prevent Sol Campbell from playing in so many England friendlies during their unbeaten league year a while ago only for the same player to turn out for Arsenal a couple of days later in the PL or FA cup game with not an eyebrow raised by Mr Ericsson or anyone at the FA. Or are we meant to all suffer amnesia and not remember this and the possible/suspected Mr Dein's influence on all this back then. We have not heard the last on this brouhaha because it is a highly emotive and sensitive topic and we all know that Mr Tough Guy Erricsson is suddenly acting out of character with a sudden display of machismo because he is leaving anyway and would not have to pick the pieces. For everybody's peace of mind though, i pray that WR would have an injury free WC for obvious legal repercussion from MU due to Mr Ericsson's insensitivity to their valid concerns and trepidation.

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  • 16.
  • At 01:06 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

I never thought that Fergie was a shrek 'look-a-like'. Must be those tartan tinted glasses that you're wearing Allan.

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  • 17.
  • At 01:08 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

It's good to see 'our' Swede insisting that a bullying Scot (who at best has a conflict of interest and at worst probably doesn't care if England don't do well) doesn't pick the England team!

Someone should tell Fergie to keep his red nose out of our affairs and that if he doesn't like it, there are thousands of acres of unoccupied territory north of the border which he is welcome to return to.

And to come back only when invited.

Go forth and multiply, Alex!

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  • 18.
  • At 01:08 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Janno wrote:

Sven's attempt at being tough had to be scripted for him! Still, it probably did his job prospects some good.

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  • 19.
  • At 01:10 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • edouble wrote:

Shame to see Defoe go should be Theo on that plane. I hope i'm proved wrong but Walcott is for the future not right now.

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  • 20.
  • At 01:12 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Martin Wellbourne wrote:

This is all very well in the short term, but what about the long term.
I'm sure come the Euro qualifiers and Rooney is unfit because some divvy manager with nothing to lose played him too soon, then the tabloids will somehow contrive to blame Ferguson and Man Utd for something else.
This is all good for taking peoples minds off the catastrophic FA appointment of the new manager, nice one Barwick.

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  • 21.
  • At 01:21 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Stephen Ayankoya wrote:

The comments about SAF on the Rooney injury is so unfair its unbelievable. I would like to know any footbal club manager in his shoes who'll not act the same and protect his club's investment.If i may ask, how did Arsenal/Mr Wenger managed to prevent Sol Campbell from playing in so many England friendlies during their unbeaten league year a while ago only for the same player to turn out for Arsenal a couple of days later in the PL or FA cup game with not an eyebrow raised by Mr Ericsson or anyone at the FA. Or are we meant to all suffer amnesia and not remember this and the possible/suspected Mr Dein's influence on all this back then. We have not heard the last on this brouhaha because it is a highly emotive and sensitive topic and we all know that Mr Tough Guy Erricsson is suddenly acting out of character with a sudden display of machismo because he is leaving anyway and would not have to pick the pieces. For everybody's peace of mind though, i pray that WR would have an injury free WC for obvious legal repercussion from MU due to Mr Ericsson's insensitivity to their valid concerns and trepidation.

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  • 22.
  • At 01:22 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Keith wrote:

I'm afraid I just can't trust a manager who seems to have had a complete personality transplant. First taking risks and now getting tough. What next, a Bobby Robson dance down the touchline?

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  • 23.
  • At 01:24 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • anthony wrote:

tip: as your heading toward Frankfurt you might want to visit the area called 'Fressgass'. This is a pedestrianised street right in the centre of the town that holds wine,beer and food 'fests' every year. They have a big screen up for the football this year and it is very much a festival atmosphere with live music. I was there last night and saw English fans, brazilian, australian, mexican and spanish. The english were partying with the mexicans. Tonight should be good as germany will have played and there will be lots more english fans arriving. For directions ask anyone for 'fressgass'. If you want to find it on the map the streets' actual name is 'Große Bockenheimer Straße' right next to the alter Oper.

..An englishman in Frankfurt

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  • 24.
  • At 01:28 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • David Harding wrote:

Sorry to the majority who have posted, but I have to side with Sir Alex on this one. Look at the situation calmly. WR is one of 23 players representing England, remember, this is a team game. WR is only 20, he has, hopefully another 3 World Cups in him. Much emphasis has been placed on the speed of his recovery because of his age, the young heal quicker etc. However, the young also damage more easily. A serious injury to the same foot/bone could lead to the end of a career, and he would certainly not be playing in the next 3 WCs. Rushing it now is stupid, I suspect the new tough image from Sven is more to boost his own ego than anything else. Hope and pray there is no long term and lasting damage if you really are a football fan.

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once we had a turnip, now we've got a swede, we've got wayne that's all we need...

There is an amazing new England world cup song that you've got to check out it you have a moment. You can hear it at: http://www.myspace.com/wearepaperscissorstone

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  • 26.
  • At 01:41 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Chris McLean wrote:

Jermaine Defoe's departure may well come back to haunt us. If Rooney gets crocked and Mr Fragile (Michael Owen) has more injury problems, we're left with a one paced giant and an unproven teenager.

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  • 27.
  • At 01:45 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • patrick wrote:

Well we will all look stupid if Rooney pulls up after his first half an hour; and Michael Owen's fitness record has not been great. Couple that with two yellow cards for Crouchie (international referees are unpredictable) and we could be without any strikers later on in the competition. I can't believe we have travelled to Germany with the same number of goalkeepers as proven strikers.

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  • 28.
  • At 01:51 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Another question to throw the cat amongst the pigeons - who actually works Ferguson's strings? Does anyone really think that there is not a certain Mr. Glazer sat in the background worrying about his wallet? As was stated on a blog yesterday, Man Utd only paid £20m of the £30m Rooney deal with the other £10m due when Rooney wins trophies! I would gues that a sizeable part of that £10m would be on a WC winners medal. How many other Man Utd players playing in the WC have similar contracts? Can Utd (Glazer) afford £10m + at the moment when Fergie wants to be strengthening his squad? I doubt it. Where are the arguments about Heinze playing for Argentina, or Neville coming back too soon? Why has Ferdinand and Christiano Ronaldo not been wrapped in cotton wool? Three possible answers: 1. Mr Glazer 2. Fergie would absolutely baulk at England winning the WC, and 3. Someone at Man Utd has placed a sizeable bet on when Rooney would be named in an England team. Call me cynical but, hey, people are only human!

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  • 29.
  • At 01:52 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Another question to throw the cat amongst the pigeons - who actually works Ferguson's strings? Does anyone really think that there is not a certain Mr. Glazer sat in the background worrying about his wallet? As was stated on a blog yesterday, Man Utd only paid £20m of the £30m Rooney deal with the other £10m due when Rooney wins trophies! I would gues that a sizeable part of that £10m would be on a WC winners medal. How many other Man Utd players playing in the WC have similar contracts? Can Utd (Glazer) afford £10m + at the moment when Fergie wants to be strengthening his squad? I doubt it. Where are the arguments about Heinze playing for Argentina, or Neville coming back too soon? Why has Ferdinand and Christiano Ronaldo not been wrapped in cotton wool? Three possible answers: 1. Mr Glazer 2. Fergie would absolutely baulk at England winning the WC, and 3. Someone at Man Utd has placed a sizeable bet on when Rooney would be named in an England team. Call me cynical but, hey, people are only human!

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  • 30.
  • At 01:54 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Simone wrote:

As a Liverpool fan I just love to see someone, anyone, get one over on Fergie. Go Sven!

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Look a load of people have fallen foul of Sir Al BUT I want to be positive now - I think Rooney will possibly play a role late in the WC but an England win depends on OTHERS getting goals SO - who do you think will top score? Rooney or someone else - vote your choice:
http://www.globalfutbol.com/story/2006/6/9/75237/46380

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  • 32.
  • At 01:59 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Alan Byrne wrote:

Does anybody remember what happened when Sven played Beckham when he wasn't 100%? This looks very similiar!
Of course SAF is worried about Rooney. He has been planning on building a team around him since he bought him and it's difficult to do that when he is on crutches. Sven is only thinking of himself. Anyone who thinks he cares if England win or loose are seriously deluded. He only wants to win to feed his ego and make himself look more employable. The only problem with that is he is taking risks with a young mans career to do it.
Everybody England play will just aim one little kick at his foot and then SAF will be proved right and Sven will leave with exactly what he started with, nothing!

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England should now do the same thing with Glazer, send him packing.

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  • 34.
  • At 02:14 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Tetley wrote:

And that will be the principal reason why you are NOT a manager Mat. If you ordered a team of pro footballers do deliberately injure a fellow pro then they would walk out in disgust. Not only would the majority of players baulk at such an idea, they would be aware that it would increase the risks of themselves being injured.

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  • 35.
  • At 02:29 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Lee wrote:

So, Oliver Yates, is it not acceptable for managers to play their best players in every match? Rooney was hardly 'flogged into the ground' this season, any more than Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard were. Footballers have the stamina to play 90 minutes every week for 9 months; witness Wayne Bridge who played 112 games in a row for Southampton without injury.
And as for his playing every week contributing to his injury, where do you get that from? He was injured because he fell awkwardly during a tackle; it was bad luck, plain and simple.
So it's not feasible to blame Sir Alex for his injury, nor to expect him to put the needs of another country before those of his club.
That said, I'm a Man Utd fan and hope Rooney plays some part in the World Cup; I just don't think unnecessary risks should be taken with his fitness.

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  • 36.
  • At 02:31 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Brocks wrote:

I wonder if Fergie would have had the same response if Rooney was Scottish and it was the Scottish national team that wanted him? Do we think we have a bitter Scot throwing his toys out of the pram here?

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  • 37.
  • At 02:41 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

Sven should wait as long as possible before playing Rooney in a competitive game. Perhaps at some stage in the second half against Sweden, only if qualification from the group stage is under threat, and we need a result.

Otherwise, leave Wayne to recover for the knockout stages.

Playing him early is too risky, and we could end up depriving ourselves of his talents in the later stages of the competition.

Surely England's first choice eleven minus Wayne Rooney will be able to qualify from the group stage.

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  • 38.
  • At 02:45 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Asa Shaw wrote:

At the end of the day the world cup is the big one: it's more important than any league title. Our performance in 1990 completely revitalised the game in Britain, if an ordinary rooneyless England surrender meakly in the group stages then the premiership season will be far less successful than if an England team with the Rooney factor progress well. It's not only essential to England that Rooney is given a chance to play but also to the future well being of our national game.

The guy is a genius and without him we look very ordinary.

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  • 39.
  • At 02:46 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

Wouldn't it be interesting if the Glazers were spotted interviewing Sven once the WC is over.

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  • 40.
  • At 02:46 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Bill Door wrote:

We've all got to hope he wont be rushed back too early and either injure himself or not make the impact on the game we would all hope for.

There's been a running joke around our office that Sven was going with a new formation without Rooney- 4-4-1, not playing anyone in Rooney's place until he was fit. But as Crouch has proved, a fully fit someone may be better than a completely unfit Rooney!

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  • 41.
  • At 02:47 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • kew wrote:

I think it's intresting the way everyone seems to have forgotten about all of Sven's misdemanours (slagging off the players etc.)I think everyone needs to realise that Sven doesn't have a job to walk in to, he's not english, and therefore doesn't really care how england perform - he's just looking out for himself now, hoping some club charimans might offer him a job.SAF is looking out for Rooney the player - Sven is looking out for his own career!

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  • 42.
  • At 02:51 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Robin wrote:

Ferguson is begining to look like a bitter old man. Remember he is a Scot thru and thru and the only peaks they can reach are by climbing up Glencoe. He may be able to throw his weight around the dressing room, which has lost him the likes of Beckham, Cantana and also got him deported south from Aberdeen but Sven is a bit different. These Swedes might contemplate in the sauna all night but they present as the strong, silent, confident and reasonable type, no match for the sour Scotsman with fire in his belly.

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  • 43.
  • At 02:57 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

Kew Wrote:

he's not english, and therefore doesn't really care how england perform - he's just looking out for himself now

Are you sure you're not talking about SAF?

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  • 44.
  • At 02:59 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Andrew Reid wrote:

I think that although Manchester United pay Wayne Rooney's wages, England should ahve the final decision because it's the World Cup. I also have to say that it is a team game not just Wayne Rooney, get behind the team England.

COME ON ENGLAND !!!!!!

WOT A CELEBRATION CROUCHINIHO

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  • 45.
  • At 03:12 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • sam wrote:

To all those talking about Rooney as if he's a trust fund and painting Ferguson as a prudential Fund Manager merely 'protecting his investment' ..GET A LIFE! This is football (a sport, for those who'd forgotten) and the WC is Rooney's stage, kindly reserve such talk for the next AGM.

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  • 46.
  • At 03:57 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Oliver Yates wrote:

In response to Lee,

Rooney is barely 20 years old, unlike the other players you mentioned.

Fergie is a manager who has always been keen to point out how young players should be nurtured, protected and brought on slowly.

He even said a few months ago how he was planning to give Rooney a rest at some point in the season (like he has with C.Ronaldo). But has it happened? No- he was played in every game, while the rest of the team (most noticeably the other strikers) were regularly rested and rotated.

Rooney played 54 games last season, most of them for the full 90 minutes- is it any wonder that he picked up that type of injury?

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  • 47.
  • At 04:19 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Oliver Yates wrote:

In response to Lee,

Rooney is barely 20 years old, unlike the other players you mentioned.

Fergie is a manager who has always been keen to point out how young players should be nurtured, protected and brought on slowly.

He even said a few months ago how he was planning to give Rooney a rest at some point in the season (like he has with C.Ronaldo). But has it happened? No- he was played in every game, while the rest of the team (most noticeably the other strikers) were regularly rested and rotated.

Rooney played 54 games last season, most of them for the full 90 minutes- is it any wonder that he picked up that type of injury?

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We should look and learn from Graham Taylors tactics, an unfit Rooney is not the boon some seem to think!

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We should look and learn from Graham Taylors tactics, an unfit Rooney is not the boon some seem to think!

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  • 50.
  • At 06:00 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • 9gazpo9 wrote:

Well well well, so Mr Ferguson hasnae managed to get his own way on this one. I think if he had, he would have 'lost' Rooney in the same way he has lost RVN.
I think the time has come for Fergie to bow out and do us all a favour. His arrogant ranting at anyone who failed to agree with his tainted view of fair play and honesty has always been the catalyst for millions of Man.U haters.

Apart from all that I actually beleive that he along with many scots up and down 'Great Britain' want England to fail. Andrew Murray was apparently recently heard proclaiming his love of all things Paraguay and that he would be wearing his red and white striped shirt come Saturday.

Just jealous!

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  • 51.
  • At 08:05 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Mark Rosenkranz wrote:

Lets keep racism out of The World Cup. The World Cup is a powerful way of bringing all the people of the world together.

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  • 52.
  • At 09:17 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • naagboy wrote:

So why did Dr Mike Stone get canned then? Does anyone really believe he left because of "a difference of opinion on a non-footballing and non-clinical issue"?

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  • 53.
  • At 11:19 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • alex wrote:

re comment 8: Michael Owen should go, he may've scored thirty goals but he is not a creative player, great goal against Jamaica but a great through ball from Ferguson, but his reputation and England place still rest on the goal against Argentina. It's time for Michael Owen to spend more time with his family.

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  • 54.
  • At 11:49 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • Paul Mcnulty wrote:

Dear Phil,

Firstly, can I say that the standard of BBC online football reporting is second to none. The website is the first port of call for me on what is happening in football and often has the news before my own team's site.

On the world cup blog, enjoy your writing very much, as always. It's in a league of its own.

Not planning to have a rant about, England, Fergie etc, but would like to ask whether you think that Sven may live to regret failing to select James Beattie, Andrew Johnson, Phil Neville. Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert?

Also, given that history tends to repeat itself, how good a bet do you think Portugal are, 40 years on, as the only team in the competition with a world class left back?

Best wishes,

your cousin,

Paul

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  • 55.
  • At 11:52 PM on 09 Jun 2006,
  • roy p whitworth wrote:

i really don't know what all the fuss is about, wayne was pronounced fit correct (healed) if he is fit & we need him then play him ,i think we should go with crouchinho & oweninho , with our fab 4 in midfield & an outstanding defence & goalie how can we lose , we will win our divy & fear no one , all the way england.

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  • 56.
  • At 12:21 AM on 10 Jun 2006,
  • DavidM wrote:

History will prove Sven/Ferguson right or wrong in the next couple of weeks.

If Sven plays Rooney in the qualifying stages and he does well, the foot is fine and England progress far, then Sven will be seen as making a strong stand against Ferguson and McClaren may not have such a hard time with him.

On the other hand, if he plays Rooney and he suffers further injury and is put out of action, Sven will be seen as having made a bad call and Ferguson will make McClaren's position very hard going forward.

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  • 57.
  • At 12:28 AM on 10 Jun 2006,
  • DavidM wrote:

History will prove Sven/Ferguson right or wrong in the next couple of weeks.

If Sven plays Rooney in the qualifying stages and he does well, the foot is fine and England progress far, then Sven will be seen as making a strong stand against Ferguson and McClaren may not have such a hard time with him.

On the other hand, if he plays Rooney and he suffers further injury and is put out of action, Sven will be seen as having made a bad call and Ferguson will make McClaren's position very hard going forward.

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  • 58.
  • At 08:10 AM on 10 Jun 2006,
  • Stuart Basson wrote:

I would have the tiniest bit more sympathy for Sir Alex if I could hear that he had been on the blower to moan to the manager of the Argentina side. After all, they're proposing to start with Heinze, a previously injured United player who has played only a couple of reserve games in his comeback from a far longer lay-off than that endured by Rooney. Has independent medical advice been sought about the state of Heinze's recovery? Double standards, if not?

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  • 59.
  • At 09:59 AM on 10 Jun 2006,
  • Nige Y wrote:

Although I'm not a great supporter of Sir Alex and his heavy handed tactics, you have to agree he has a point. However behind Sven's bullish attitude he showed us he is The Boss and will do what's best for the team.
That, I'm sure, will not include making a possible career threatening inclusion in any team he doesn't feel Wayne Rooney is ready for.

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  • 60.
  • At 11:45 AM on 10 Jun 2006,
  • Aidan G wrote:

Well isn't that strange. Just days after Sven says he will play Rooney if he needs to in the group stages, Man Utd make a bid for an England player on the eve of the tournament. An old cynic might read something into that.

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  • 61.
  • At 07:37 PM on 12 Jun 2006,
  • steve farrar wrote:

alex ferguson is wrong and has been wrong from the start, Rooney would never have refused to go to the world cup same as beckham, Owen passed is crouch too tall so Rooney and Theo have 2games after qualification to0 get this right fergi past it Sven got balls for a change and will do us proud its bound to happpen, lets face it the only thing Beckham aint got is the WC, go on sven and the boys

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