Euro 2012: Fabio Capello stands by decision to pick Wayne Rooney
By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Podgorica
Fabio Capello insisted he had not made a mistake in selecting Wayne Rooney after he was sent off as England qualified for Euro 2012 with a draw in Montenegro.
Capello said before the kick-off that Rooney was in relaxed mood and ready to play despite his father's arrest on Thursday in a probe into alleged betting irregularities.
But the decision appeared to backfire as Rooney was shown a red card by referee Wolfgang Stark 17 minutes from time for kicking Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic after an innocuous challenge for possession.
Capello shrugs off Rooney's 'silly mistake'
England secured their place in Euro 2012 despite losing a two-goal lead given to them by Ashley Young and Darren Bent - but Rooney will now miss at least one game in the tournament after the incident and offered an immediate apology to Capello after the game.
Rooney's dismissal overshadowed England's qualification as Capello was forced to defend his decision to pick the Manchester United striker.
He said: "It was no mistake to pick him. He made a silly mistake in kicking the opponent and I think he will not play in the first game of Euro 2012 now because he will be suspended. I spoke with him before the game and he was relaxed and calm, then went out on the pitch and made this silly mistake.
"Wayne was not happy because he missed controlling the ball and some passes and for this reason I think the reaction was to kick the opponent. I'm not happy and I spoke with him. He made a silly mistake and said he was sorry."
“Capello can now turn his attention to next summer, but only the wildest optimist would study England's body of work and their squad and predict success in the face of competition from the likes of Spain, Holland and Italy”
Capello added: "He's a really important player with a lot of experience and has played well in these games but sometimes really important players make mistakes. You can't understand why but they make mistakes."
The Italian is confident England will overcome the handicap of the absence of their most influential player and will use the upcoming friendly against Spain to formulate a plan without Rooney.
He said: "I think all the players are important and we will find the solution to playing without him. We will some things in our next friendly games."
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