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Rooney sideshow the last thing Capello needs

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Phil McNulty | 20:15 UK time, Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fabio Capello was at home in Italy when Uefa's decision to rule Wayne Rooney out of England's Euro 2012 group games was delivered to him by the Football Association.

At that moment Capello knew his plans for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine would have to be divided into two phases. He must devise a strategy to ensure England safely navigate their way into the knockout stage, then make sure their finest player is in the right mental and physical shape to enter Euro 2012 at the sharp end.

England coach Capello made optimistic noises about Rooney only being suspended for the opening game when he was sent off in Montenegro for needlessly kicking defender Miodrag Dzudovic during the 2-2 draw that confirmed qualification.

Rooney may have made a written submission to Uefa on his own behalf and left the pitch in Podgorica without contesting referee Wolfgang Stark's decision - but the damage, lots of it, was already done.

Fabio Capello shakes hands with Wayne Rooney

With Rooney out for three games, Capello must find an alternative attacking strategy for Euro 2012. Photo: Getty

The reality was that Rooney was always looking at a two-game ban and such a rash act carried the ominous threat of the maximum punishment that Uefa has meted out. Rooney will now have a large portion of Euro 2012 to reflect on his stupidity.

It has tossed Capello's preparations on to the fire and created a sideshow surrounding Rooney that was the last thing England needed as they attempt to right the wrongs of the World Cup debacle in South Africa.

Once the scale of the setback - described to me by former England captain Terry Butcher as "a hammer blow" - sank in, the questions came.

Should Capello even take Rooney to Euro 2012 when he knows he will be nothing more than a tourist for the opening games? Would the presence of this combustible, and highly frustrated, character impact on the delicate balances of team spirit?

This should be one of Capello's easier decisions. Rooney's talent and importance makes him a special case, the one player England would take to a tournament in this situation. The temptation of having him ready for action in the expectation of qualifying from the group games will be impossible to resist.

England have attacking options but none of them provides what Rooney does. The price for his genius is that occasionally he can be a liability, as he was in Montenegro, and the cost to England of his misdemeanour is huge.

Rooney is also central to Capello's team shape and methods. After finally tearing himself away from his beloved 4-4-2, Capello has used the Manchester United striker to great effect linking midfield and attack.

He was flanked outstandingly by Ashley Young and Theo Walcott in the win in Bulgaria, while he was pivotal working with the same pair in Podgorica, with Darren Bent providing the attacking spearhead.

Rooney gives Capello tactical flexibility, creativity and a threat that is feared by the best defences - even if it is accompanied by a temperament that causes him to live on the edge of indiscipline.

So Capello will not leave Rooney behind. The possible rewards of keeping him with England at their Polish base outweigh the risks of dismissing him from his plans altogether.

Wayne Rooney protests to the referee

Rooney's fiery temperament means he treads a fine line between combative and petulant on the pitch. Photo: Getty

If Capello found one positive as he scoured the damage done by Rooney's red card, it is that he can create a real atmosphere of opportunity for England strikers who want the vacancy his absence has opened up.

Capello can now conduct an eight-month fashion parade of attackers who have a chance to make a mark and take a place that was not open to them until Thursday evening.

Aston Villa's Bent might be in pole position after another goal in Montenegro, but Manchester United's Danny Welbeck has a confirmed admirer in Capello. He is growing in stature and the Italian made a point of praising his brief contribution as a substitute in Friday's final qualifier.

Capello will also give Fulham's Bobby Zamora his opportunity and he has noted Jermain Defoe's improved form at Tottenham, while Gabriel Agbonlahor at Aston Villa will have his advocates too.

It appears he has finally - and perhaps harshly - given up on Peter Crouch, so what greater incentive for Liverpool's Andy Carroll to demonstrate why Kenny Dalglish thought he was worth £35m and, at the same time, aim for the considerable goal of a starting place at Euro 2012?

Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge is another outsider for a place but looks more impressive with every outing. There is every chance Capello will start to monitor his developments more closely as he explores all alternatives to Rooney.

And here is a name that never fails to divide opinion when mentioned in connection with England - Michael Owen.

Capello has never shown any real enthusiasm for Owen since his appointment as England coach but the Manchester United striker has always harboured ambitions of returning to the international side. If - and it is a big if - he can get regular football and scores goals this season, then Capello would surely have to examine his form?

There are plenty who would have a fit Owen in the squad - not as a starter but as a wild card substitute - and even the player himself might just sense a very small window of opportunity opening.

It would all have been so much more straightforward had Rooney decided against indiscriminately kicking Dzudovic but at least Capello has plenty of notice of the gaping hole left in his line-up for next summer.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Michael Owen is still a terrific finisher but I question his fitness at times. Peter Crouch is always an alternative but, of course, is nowhere near Rooney's standard. Agbonlahor is looking good at the moment...

  • Comment number 2.

    Time for Grant Holt to step up...

  • Comment number 3.

    lol. Or Andy Johnson.

  • Comment number 4.

    Any body else think this could be a good thing, as long as we top our group? A raring to go Rooney is one hell of a prospect for any side (except Spain). He will want to make up for his mistake and almost definately make a huge impact on the whole team.

  • Comment number 5.

    Owen? Must be joking.

    He is so far past it now, it's like asking Shearer to come back.

    Sturridge looks promising, hopefully he gets a chance in the friendlies. Caroll is not the way forward.

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't think I'd take Rooney, if it was my decision. The tournament's short enough as it is, and missing half the games means we might as well leave him out of the squad completely given we won't get past the quarters. Give Welbeck a chance to play as England's main striker.

  • Comment number 7.

    Rooney is a natural born idiot

  • Comment number 8.

    Does anyone actually give a monkeys about international Football anymore? I can't remember the last time I saw someone walking around with an England shirt on.

  • Comment number 9.

    3 game ban??


    Platini and his gang strike again!

    It was a staight red so should miss the next game. End of.

    p.s. Owen?????????

  • Comment number 10.

    You're having a laugh Phil, there is no way Fabio can afford to have Rooney in the squad now - we can't garuntee to get through the group stages without him!

    Owen: Every time he does play for United he looks awesome but I doubt he plays often enough for Fabio to be interested.

    Crouch: Can be great but gets done constantly by international refs due to his size. He might as well retrain for basketball and have him give Chris Finch a yell!

    We have Defoe, we have Bent, we have Zamora, we have Carroll. They may have to do us!

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello everyone. Must confess to playing Devil's Advocate with Michael Owen. I don't think for one second Capello will take him but you can be sure he will get a mention in the weeks ahead.

    I confess if he played games and scored some goals I would be very tempted to take him, not as a starter but a wild card sub. Don't see it happening though.

    Some simple questions to debate.

    Is the ban too harsh? My view is that Rooney can have no complaints as he kicked an opponent.

    Should the FA appeal? And if they did, what would their stance be if Rooney was sent off for Man Utd for a similar offence this season and they received an appeal from Old Trafford?

    Should Rooney actually go to Euron 2012 now? I would take him.

    And who would you put in the team as his replacements? Leave you to ponder that.

    Let's debate all the issues around Rooney here. The floor is yours.

  • Comment number 12.

    Overrated, bad tempered little oik.

    Place him in the context of the game's true world class talents - Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Aguero, Silva, Villa, Sneijder, even Tevez - and only an Englishman would say he is fit to lace the boots of any of those.

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't know what the best thing for England is in this sticky situation. First of all what formation do England have without Rooney in the team. Do they revert back to a 4 4 1 1 as soon as they get to final 8 as so many English supporters seem so certain of. Failing to qualify for Euro 2008 followed by a disastrous World cup and a group stage without your top goalscorer. Fair play to your optimism. it is my opinion that getting out of the group is a great achievement as the competitiveness in Europe is at an all time high. The team that get's out of this group is a team which will be on a high and a harmonious one. Bar John terry who seems more distracted by players off the pitch, I would believe there would be a lot of bitterness from some English players. If capello is true to his promise that Rooney won't figure in the warm up matches he will have gone 8 months without an international game before starting England's biggest game in 6 years. Either way, Rooney is an idiot who is overly protected by referees in England by demand of the FA. There is countless examples in games against Fulham, Stoke and Wolves at top of my head where it was scandalous that Rooney was not sent off. Well done Rooney.!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Punishment is excessive. If you watch the replay the opposition player stiffened his legs and deliberately thrust his buttocks in to Rooney before Rooney reacted. No one seems to have even mentrioned this. Two matches would have been fairerer. Seems he and Louise Hamilton both get maximum punishments whenever they transgress.

  • Comment number 15.

    Rooney should be dropped. Period. His attitude is very unprofessional. And
    @Zemo 3 game ban??


    It was bad. Did you actually see the tacle. Rooney kicked the guy. He is a great player but not a good representative of a nation. He needs to learn.

  • Comment number 16.

    I would take both Owen and Crouch. Both have excellent goalscoring records for England and against European opposition. Owen is a poacher, just the sort of player England need, and Crouch is excellent at holding the ball up and laying it off.

    However, I don't believe that Capello will take either and instead will take Defoe, who blows hot and cold, and Bent, who misses far too many chances. I don't think Carroll is ready yet for a regular England place, but will do in a couple of years.

    I would also take one of Sturridge and Welbeck.

    Heskey anyone...???

  • Comment number 17.

    another blog about wayne rooney, how original. of course england will take him, of course he's a good player. get a grip, he will be back for the knockout phase. If england cant make it out of the group stages just because one player is suspended then they wouldnt have the slightest chance of winning the thing anyway.

  • Comment number 18.

    The tournament's short enough as it is, and missing half the games means we might as well leave him out of the squad completely given we won't get past the quarters
    Tell you what, lets not bother going at all then. Might as well give the players a rest and be done with it. We should be good enough to get out of the group without him, but the fact that he will be available for the business end of the tournament means he has to go. I'm not saying he should walk straight back into the 11 if our attack is firing, but he's too good a player to leave behind.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Why not play Gerrard in that no 10 role?

    Crouch and Carroll would take the team the wrong way, but having Defoe at the head of the triangle ahead of Gerrard should work well in the 4-2-3-1 formation. Or, play Young in the middle (in the Rooney role) with Johnson/Downing on the left.

    Keep the team mobile, ball to floor, and we stand a chance.

  • Comment number 21.

    It's only a side show because the media (including you Phil) are making it into one. He got sent off, it's not a big deal especially when you factor in his dad being arrested. The media circus is ridiculous, trying to make out that he is seething rage machine when his record utterly contradicts this notion. This could have happened to any player in that situation, any player, anyone. Instead of raging at him, why not try putting ourselves in his shoes and getting behind him for once. Imagine how good he would be if the country was behind him completely.

  • Comment number 22.

    I don't mean to be one of those annoying people who just moan about the article, but I cannot believe you've used the word 'genius' to describe Wayne Rooney. Messi, perhaps, but Rooney is a very good club player but nothing more. I actually think the impact of his absence will be fairly minimal. These big tournaments, of course, require great individual technical skill (which Rooney has), but also some gray matter and maturity (which Rooney has none of). This is coming from a Man Utd fan!!

  • Comment number 23.

    What kind of message is the FA sending out here by lodging an appeal? Are they saying they think it's OK to kick someone as hard as you like from behind as long as it's because you can't control your temper? That should go over well in the youth soccer camps and Sunday leagues. So much for the so-called "sportsmanship" campaign to clean up the game. Do as we say, not as we do. What Rooney did was assault and should be punished. What's everyone so worried about anyway? Now we have our built-in excuse for failing at Euro 2012, which is exactly what we would have done with or without his royal highness.

  • Comment number 24.

    There is no way I would take Rooney. What's the point? Capello has already said he won't start him in the build up friendlies and completely sends out the wrong message that he can miss 5 or 6 friendlies, 3 group matches and then waltz into the team in the quarter finals (if we make it) after all the other players have done the hard work. If I was say Darren Bent, banging in goals in friendlies and the group stage, only to be left out in the knockout games, I'd be gutted and would probably retire from England duty there and then.

    The warm up games will give a chance to get a team playing well together and bringing in Rooney at a late stage would only disrupt things

    As good a player as he is, one player doesn't make a team, and we shouldn't be relying on one player - and it's not as if England have been on fire in recent games that he has played in. Ok, we're not often great without him, but gives the perfect opportunity to try other players and plenty of time to get a new team playing well together

  • Comment number 25.

    england will get past the group stage, to not take rooney would daft.
    but even with a fresh and vibrant rooney in the later stages would make no difference to england winning the euros, when they cant defend or control a midfield

  • Comment number 26.

    Theres no doubting this is a blow to us, but lets try and put a positive spin on it.

    A year ago i'd say we were doomed, with little chance of progressing out of our group. However now we have two young bright sparks who have emerged over the last 6-12 months in the names of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge.

    Lets do what Germany did in World cup 2010 and give the youngsters a go. We need fresh ideas, welbeck and sturridge are fresh and both looking dangerous.

    Still take Rooney to the finals but lets start with sturridge and welbeck, or 1 of them with young and adam johnson playing as advanced wingers.

    Whats the betting we go with Darren Bent and Peter Crouch though...... (or something like that)

  • Comment number 27.

    Rooney admittedly lost it, and acted rashly, red mist etc. But do we ever see action taken over pre-meditated action were a player may simulate or cheat which is a canker at the very heart of the game which far more requires addressing than a young man losing his head and kicking someone in the back of the leg!

  • Comment number 28.

    I just hope Capello doesn't revert to 4-4-2 again, without Rooney, play an AM and a striker with pace, Welbeck or Sturridge. I would still take Rooney and definatly no to Owen, I wouldn't take Crouch either however I think it way too early to say who goes or not.

  • Comment number 29.

    No Rooney for the group stages is a good thing and this is why I think that:

    English players are going to have another season of hard competitive football where the majority of them will get quite far in Europe, so by the start of the Euros they are going to be burnt out. Since the EPL doesn't have a winter break, the media will start talking about it closer to June.

    Rooney is going to be one the players in the squad who plays the most games in domestic league and Europe and will no doubt end the season a bit knackered.

    Rooney is, arguably, England's best player.

    What England are looking at is playing approximately the first 2 weeks of the tournament without Rooney, so other players can prove themselves on the big stage. England will most likely get out of the group stages, then Rooney will return, fresh, rearing to go, and boost the moral of the other players on the pitch. You never know, maybe even scare the other team a bit.

    All in all, this is a good thing.

  • Comment number 30.

    and whats all this nonsense about cappello suddenly having a " headache " ?

    he's been one gigantic headache ever since his appointment

    take your art and fine wine cappello and scuttle of back to Italy where you rightfully belong.

    " own man " my backside, he's been nothing but a poodle for the FA

    all we need now is that " root and branch " investigation hopefully leading to the sacking of them all.

  • Comment number 31.





    -------welbeck OR sturridge------

    Plenty of steel in the midfield, plenty of creation in the midfield, vibrant wingers, a quick good centre forward,decent defence. we must go with this.

  • Comment number 32.

    "3 game ban??


    Platini and his gang strike again!

    It was a staight red so should miss the next game. End of.

    Yes Zeemo, Platini just likes to strike does he not? Recall Platin and Baltter supsending Zidane for 3 games in the 98 World cup with France playing at home, when Zidane received a red card in the opener against Saudi Arabia.

    But that was little nobody Zidane. THIS IS ROONEY, HOW DARE, JUST HOW DARE UEFA supspends him for 3 games? Yep must be Platini.

  • Comment number 33.

    If i was a striker left at home for a player that could not play i would be livid. If we get through the groups then we will be doing something right ,in this very tough tournament ,so why would you change that anyway.
    Its a no brainer you cannot take a player that could only be available for a game that may never come .

  • Comment number 34.

    Three game ban totally deserved, and if the FA appeal unsuccessfully then UEFA should double it. Rooney is a clown and while Crapello is in charge I have little interest what happens to England in Euro 2012. Even if Rooney played we are not good enough against the likes of Spain and Germany. So roll on 2014 and Harry's England.

  • Comment number 35.

    I want to see England take some risks with the striker choices. We have safe pairs of hands which we know pretty well. These are Bent, Crouch, and Defoe. They will do okay but are simply bot tournament-winning quality. If we play them they'll put in a good shift and we'll go out quarters best. Screw it, we have nothing to lose, let's take a chance on untried players with great potential - Sturridge, Welbeck, Agbonlahor. It's the only way to go to the next level. If you've been playing Fantasy Premier League you'll know all three have made serious measurable impact when they've had chances to play.

  • Comment number 36.

    i dont think it was a red card....not even a yellow

    watching the replays it is obvious that he was going for the ball...he just couldnt get any gauge on where the ball was because that bloke was standing in front of him....

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.

    Well, if nothing else it highlights our paucity of options compared to the leading nations. Darren Bent is obviously the standout candidate and is a decent (not great) player, but lets have a look at the others:

    Crouch: Great record, but little form and little class. I actually think that of the other established strikers he is the best but any team he plays in seems to revert to playing to his height. Understandable, but not actually playing to his strengths and not a way to progress in an international tournament.

    Defoe: can look great but, more often, looks poor. Not quite a poacher, not quite a complete forward. Not quite an England player.

    Owen: damn I'd love it if he was playing week in week out. But he isn't. So, we don't have a clue how good he is now. Likely to have an injury at some point anyway.

    Agbonlahor: can look great one game in five. Generally doesn't look great. Not good enough.

    Basically, our progress from the group stages depends in some part on the progress of Sturridge and Wellbeck this season. Personally, I think Sturridge has the tools for the international game and, assuming he develops over the season, I'd like to see a partnership between him and Bent. Means we'd be restricted to 4-4-2 (don't put him on the flank in a 4-4-3! It isn't a place for strikers) but our best bet for the group stages.

  • Comment number 39.

    Given we're only going to be there for the group stages anyway, there is no reason whatsoever to take Rooney. The opportunity to change the culture of automatic picks has landed in Capello's lap, but somehow I can see him contriving to squander it.

  • Comment number 40.


    Violent conduct!!!???

    Rooney was going for the ball!

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

    R.e. Owen - I'm not too sure why he's being suggested. Surely Rooney missing for the first three games is another *not* to include Owen? We'll take four strikers (plus Walcott, whilst Gerrard may play the Rooney role). Taking Rooney and Owen as a super-sub leaves us with two starters for the group games.

  • Comment number 43.

    So he got the ban most knowledgeable fans expected, so now lets move and do without him for the tournie. Sorry but no one in a England shirt is that special. Thats our problem, the press hype these guys up to be untouchable and then find out they are not. It would be totally unfair to take him and have him sitting hoping that we qualify and then playing in the quarter, Semi etc. The team would have played differently and then have to change again to accommodate Rooney, and we would get knocked out. You dont need to be brave just a good manager, lets see what Capello is really made of..

  • Comment number 44.

    Gary Hooper

  • Comment number 45.

    I wonder if Rooney's father had money on him being sent off?

  • Comment number 46.

    The only 2 players capable of fillings rooneys role in the 4-2-3-1 formation are Ashley young as he did at villa last year and Gerrard as he did behind Torres at Liverpool. All the talk of other stickers getting a chance is nonsense unless capello reverts to 4-4-2. if young moves in then capello will probable go for downing or Milner or johnson wide left.

    I'd go


    Smalling jones Ferdinand cole

    Wiltshire Gerrard

    Walcott young Johnson

    Welbeck/bent/agbonlahor (depending on form)

    With Rooney replacing which ever of the front 4 doesn't perform in the group stages

  • Comment number 47.

    If the EPL issue a standard 3-game ban for violent conduct then why is this one so shocking or surprising?

    Rooney is the one at fault here, nothing to do with Platini and any imagined UEFA conspiracy that you've dreamt up.

  • Comment number 48.

    Rooney hasn't been sent off in something like 5 years as far as i know and it was a stupid kick and bad sportsmanship. He immediately showed remorse, he handled the sending off well and then wrote a letter and did everything in his power to correct himself which shows some level of good character.

    This is just Fifa's way to kick the boot into England, Platini was perplexed when English Clubs were owning the CL. We get a clear goal disallowed against Germany and Barcelona get every descion going for them.

    Its a disgrace a 3 match ban.

    Even if we dont deserve it i hope the other English players galvanise.

    No excuses though Rooney should never have done this in the first place...

  • Comment number 49.

    i haven't been terribly interested in the england team since we've been employing foreign managers, that may sound xenophobic but it's not; isn't the whole point of international football one nation against another? i'll renew my interest when we get an english manager.
    anyway here's my take on the rooney situation:

    hopefully capello will leave rooney out of all the friendly games then, depending on his united form, just take him along when the time comes. this will enable rooney to concentrate wholly on uniteds' campaign (which, to me, is a lot more important). that way he'll be a lot fresher and raring to go, if england qualify from the group stages of euro 2012. in the meantime capello has an opportunity to give chances to the younger strikers with an eye to the future (not that he probably cares much about that!). i really don't see the point in reviving owens' carreer & crouch, who has always performed for england, is about as popular with the england management as le tissier used to be!
    if, in the meantime, we find englands' next shearer (welbeck maybe?) the whole thing could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

  • Comment number 50.

    Can't really argue the ban is infair since he has previous.

    While you can argue Rooney should go for the latter stages I don't particularly see the point. Capello has to build a team capable of getting out of the group stage, assuming he does that, why would he then change a successful formula just to accomodate Rooney?

    Agbonlahor and Bent to start, let's hope they can convert a decent club partnership into England goals.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's no big deal. Rooney is part of the failed generation and as such as with all otgers of that generation - Lampard, Terry, Cole, Gerrard should told thanks for all your efforts but goodbye. Take the youngsters and give them tournament experience, you never know they might win it before all the 'joie de vivre' is coached out of them by the England set up.

  • Comment number 52.

    Happy to take Owen once he makes the Man U first team, in the time being, I suggest we see who does well this season ;o)

    As for Rooney, well, how can you play 5 friendlies, 3 group matches, then suddenly fit him into the system?

    Assuming England progress of course.

    Maybe Rooney has played his last England match?

  • Comment number 53.

    Not great news for England but fantastic news for United! No point playing him in any of the silly friendly's now and quite possibly (but lets hope not) all of next summer off. Sir Alex must be rubbing his hands in delight, as many United fans will be.

  • Comment number 54.

    Last world cup, all be it a short one for England, out of the 25 players, quite a few were never used in the group stage games.
    In the Euros, at the group stage, England will have a strong enough squad to get by, leaving room for Rooney.
    This season will reveal our future stars, such as Danny Welbeck, who i think has it in him to be a world class finisher, and a few other young players who are getting more opportunities to shine at club level.
    By the end of this season, these players will have gained valuable experience and will have shown drastic improvement (we hope).
    They are key to success in the group stages of the Euros, of course with experienced older players too. But come the quarter finals (optimism prevails) England will need a world beater in that team.
    Rooney may have shown immaturity, but it was clearly a one off situation that the media has pounced upon. OK so perhaps "One off" is being kind to him, there is no denying he can get carried away with his temperament, but it is much less often, and it was highlighted how he reacted well to being red carded, a small victory I know, seeing as he did get sent off, but it demonstrates an improvement in attitude.

    The Point is, if we get far and then get knocked out, People will moan, "Ohhh Why didn't we bring Rooney, he would have done a sweet bicycle kick like that one against City and we would have got through to the the SEMI FINAL, instead, peter crouch tripped and broke one of his over-sized legs" (no offence to peter crouch, I know his record is surprisingly good)

  • Comment number 55.

    We have to take roo. if we get past the group stage (which we still should even without him, if everyone else is fit) he could make the whole important difference if he's fresh and ready for the knockout stages.

    For the group stages, this would be my team: Hart, G. Johnson, P. Jones, Terry, A. Cole, Parker, Barry/Lampard/Wilshere, Walcott/Adam Johnson, Gerrard, Young, Bent.

    Other strikers in the frame: Sturridge and Welbeck in great form for the big boys, Agbonlahor is also doing well at Villa, Zamora is actually starting to look a decent player again at Fulham, Crouch has lots of international experience, Defoe should always be in the mix if he can find his goalscoring touch at spurs again.

    Carroll is nowhere near international form right now. needs a run of games and plenty of big goals against big teams to be in with a shout. Owen...just no.

  • Comment number 56.

    didn't see the kick, apart from a brief tv replay. not good, but when i watch constant, blatant cheating week in week out in europe (eg czech dive in box, scotland out), which is worse? one moment of petulance gets you banned for 3 games but diving/gamesmanship/"simulation" goes unpunished simply because a referee doesn't see it at the time and fifa/uefa don't see the need to retrospectively see the truth and act upon it. i'm afraid that if we use racial stereotypes, the brit tendency towards good old-fashioned thuggery is far more blatant and obvious than the latin acceptance that obtaining decisions from referees by less than honest means is simply part of the modern game.

  • Comment number 57.

    There is no point taking Rooney now he is out of the group stage. There are two scenario's that could play out. Firstly, England don't qualify from the group so he wouldn't play at all. Secondly, England do qualify. How could Capello then justify dropping a player from a winning team? It would destroy the morale of the squad which frankly is far more important than the selfish Mr Rooney.

    England won't win Euro 2012 regardless of whether Rooney is selected. It should be an opportunity to have a real look at a Welbeck or a Sturridge. England have talented younger players and this could actually be a positive for the future as Capello is forced to try something else.

    The England team has potential and a good talent level. I personally believe they can have a successful tournament without Rooney. He is a huge player but no one is untouchable and England HAVE to find another way.

    Rooney has only himself to blame here although I do find it interesting that Arshavin was only banned for 2 matches at Euro 2008 for a remarkably similar offence.....

  • Comment number 58.

    go with youth please, then its not all about rooney..

    Walker Jones Cahill Cole
    Cleverly Wilshere MacEachran
    Walcott Welbeck Young

    Looney, when he promises to be a good boy

  • Comment number 59.

    it won't be long before the blog is saturated with the red,green and gold mouths of surrey and asia chime in supporting the buffon that is rooney.

  • Comment number 60.

    maybe gerrard if hes not crocked too?!!

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't think Capello is going to finalise his squad this weekend. I have a hunch he'll probably dither and wait until a few short weeks before the finals commence, and then rashly take account of the fitness, form and mental state of eligible players before announcing his choice of players. And who knows what other circumstances might affect the squad selection?

    I am reliably informed by an insider that Rooney is going to have another extra-marital affair, and Darren Bent is going to re-evaluate his monotheic beliefs and refuse to play on a Sunday. What else might happen to influence Fabio's thinking?

  • Comment number 62.

    I am not sure if people have seen the stats not only for Rooney but for all English strikers. IN fact our best striker is crouch in the recent years. Defo coming second with a goal in every 3 games and then Carrol with one goal in 3 games.

    So in short we lacking. Wellbeck is yet to score, so unless we have more faith in a partnership with Wellbeck, Young and Carrol then we are big trouble. I think in midfield we are not doing to bad, and probably ok in defence. But we are with or without Rooney struggling and now its all down to the younger players to start proving themselves.

    We have almost 2 seasons to prepare so we have time, and we have some potential players that can come up and prove and maybe there energy will get us into a respectable position in the Euros. Germany shocked the world with a fairly bad world cup qualifying campaign but a very good display in the world cup so we have hope and all is not lost and by rights which add up to nothing we should make it through the group stage.

    So now anything past the group stage is good, and if we do get through the groups and then add Rooney and lose then its look very bad on him indeed. His position at this moment in time for English football is looking very bleak.

  • Comment number 63.

    It's difficult to really care too much about what happens to England. I find international football utterly tiresome. With or without Wayne Rooney what are England going to do at Euro 2012?

    Rooney's reaction was stupid and idiotic but that was the one time in the second half where one of his team mates had got the ball anywhere near him and he miscontrolled it and lost possession.

    Rooney should retire from international football. Get the summers off and concentrate on club football.

    An average team coached by a hopeless manager. And i'm sure his successor will be equally as bad.

  • Comment number 64.

    Well, Capello has to take him. England can qualify from the group without him, but they can't win without him and would probably struggle in the first knockout game without him - especially since his absence means that second place in the group may have to be the target, depending on the draw.

    The problem is that it's going to unbalance the squad. Does Capello take the 23 he'd have taken anyway, and trust that the squad will be be good enough to get through the group, or does he take an extra striker as cover? If he does take an extra striker, who gets left behind - and will that mean someone going in the full knowledge that he's only there to make up numbers in the group stage?

    Personally, I think he should stick to a balanced squad and accept that he'll be a striker down for the group stage. And, even if Rooney wasn't suspended to begin with, Capello would still need a player in the squad capable of covering for him in case of injury or in-tournament suspension. It just matters more now that we know this is a reality, not just a worst-case scenario.

    As to who I'd take, I'm no great fan of Darren Bent, and others such as Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jermain Defoe just don't look quite up to the required class either. Assuming that Capello takes just four strikers, my choice would be Rooney (of course), Peter Crouch, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck - Crouch because he's a proven goalscorer in an England shirt, and while he may be a little short of top class he's the kind of player who will score a messy goal to defeat a lower-ranked team in the group stage (and Ashley Young's emergence as a genuinely international class winger means that Crouch would have plenty of crosses to feed off), and Welbeck and Sturridge because they represent England's future and, let's face it, developing the next generation is a far more realistic target than actually winning it this time.

    The main alternative to Crouch would be Bobby Zamora, but unless he gets plenty of playing time in the friendlies it would be a big risk to take someone with so little experience. Realistically, Michael Owen is out of it unless he gets a lot more time on the pitch than he's had in a Man U shirt up to now. Andy Carroll might come into the frame as an alternative to Welbeck or Sturridge, but he needs to find his form and start scoring goals before that happens.

  • Comment number 65.

    There is a bigger picture at play here.

    Fabio is not going to be leading England in the Autumn, England (an I am English) are not going to win the Euros, the FA are under scrutiny on many levels concerning their stewardship of the national game and Rooney will be 28 going on 29 should we qualify for the the finals of the 2014 World Cup.

    Although a fit and ready to go Rooney would no doubt want to make an impact in the second phase of the Euros, a manager concerned about building a momentum and a genuine team mentality would not entertain taking Rooney. He would choose instead to use the time between then and now to find 4 strikers to fit a couple of systems and give them the opportunity to fight for selection in the tournament. Fabio, no doubt, does not much care about the medium term impact of of taking 3 plus Rooney and disregarding their efforts by picking Rooney first up if we get out of the group stages. If the argument is that Rooney may have to start from the bench in the first knockout stage because of the form of others then it undermines any argument for taking him at all.

    England won't win the tournament. They might, however, do better than usual in the World Cup in 2014 if the emerging generation comes good. Not necessarily win it of course, but do well. Rooney has been to tournaments before, he knows all about them. there are potential strikers who haven't. This tournament should be used as a building block to 2014, and the opportunity to blood a few other strikers should be taken. Let's engineer a situation here we have a wealth of experience in 2014.

    The FA have to look at the bigger picture. He is banned by UEFA, but can be subject to sanction by the FA. As has been said, the mixed message of appealing the ban, and even allowing him to be named if the appeal fails, is not the right message. Rooney is a talent that kids in this country want to emulate, my kids included. The FA should shut a few doors to him in 2012 and leave a bigger door ajar in 2014. Remove him from contention, and let it be know that he has to go away and prove himself. People have mixed views on Beckham, but he fought hard to regain his stature and respect in the game, and the adulation of a generation of players. Rooney, to date, has shown by his general behaviour that he is not inclined to follow that example. Let the FA make the choice simple. 'Forget 2012 altogether. Prove you are a star in 2014, on and off the field'.

    Rooney's time in 2014? Fabio has said he won't pick Rooney in the build up to 2012 now. If he doesn't go to the tournament his next game will be the Autumn of 2012 in 2014 qualifying (or a meaningless friendly to induct the new manager ahead of that). The equation for him should be that he has 12 months now to sit out ahead of 18 months or so of the most important time of his international career heading into 2014. Benefit from the relative rest, rehabilitate yourself publicly, keep proving your class for Man Utd and hit qualification for, and the tournament of, 2014 with the chance to carve your name in history.

    The alternative, for me, to the above is the FA appealing and making a mockery of their domestic stewardship of the game, Capello being allowed in the crudest of terms to disregard the long term for a short term gamble on at least reaching the semi finals and Rooney not making the move from immature, reckless, loose cannon to world class, widely applauded, ambassador for our game.

    The FA have a chance to prove they are not what we all suspect they are. Capello has a chance to leave a legacy, even if he is leaving the bank account empty. Rooney has the chance to be a Beckham-esque phoenix from the flames, not a [insert unpopular footballer here]-esque pigeon taking another unwelcome dump on the sport we love.

  • Comment number 66.

    Carroll is too one dimensional and easy to snuff out, at least for the moment. Whether he can improve on that between now and the end of the season remains to be seen, but right now, he's simply not international class. I'd even take Crouch ahead of him.

  • Comment number 67.

    31. At 21:52 13th Oct 2011, Crow4England wrote:




    -------welbeck OR sturridge------

    I'd also like to see capello picking a starting XI like this or as close to as possible. Question marks over the right back position (i do like Smalling but it will be interesting to see how much game time he gets at RB when rafael returns and also on the progress and form of Richards, Walker and potentially Kelly), also depends on whether adam johnson gets enough playing time over the course of the season and if not could possibly shift sturridge to the right wing where he has been playing for chelsea recently. I think its important to keep the experience of terry, cole and gerrard (provided he can find himself again after injury) around and think that we have good impact players left on the bench such as cleverly, sturridge/welbeck (whoever doesnt start) and walcott who i think is far more effective coming off the bench against tiring defeners!

  • Comment number 68.

    Should add, too, that both Ashley Young and Theo Walcott are capable of playing up front as well as wide, so assuming they're both in the squad (as I'm pretty sure they will be, barring injury or catastrophic loss of form) then Capello has options available even without needing to take an extra striker just for the group stage.

  • Comment number 69.

    My last post for the day after reading Phils response is that yes he will go, but should he go. That is the bigger question.

    At this moment i cant decide, Owen should not go, only because he will take an extra space and plus he can only ever be good for a late sub in desperate measures.

    Thats not a slate at Owen, he is or rather was our best ever striker in the last 20 years or so. But his day is done.

    Rooney will only go because if he didnt and we did get out the group stage and come up against the bigger teams and lost then the loss would be blamed on Rooney not being there.

    But on the other hand of we found a formation that worked without him then why would he be automatically selected.

    It has in fact become a big headache for Capello if he thinks it thorugh properly. Which i doubt he will, he will think like this.

    I need to find a team for 3 games and use the friendlies to work out what is the best formation and players.

    Then if we get through i will build the team around Rooney.

    It all boils down the that no matter what we think and speculate.

  • Comment number 70.

    Firstly, OBVIOUSLY it should be a 3 match wasn't as though it was a miss timed tackle or a second yellow. HE KICKED AN OPPONENT OUT OF FRUSTRATION. 3 match ban, standard. Secondly, Capello still has to take him. If we squeeze out of the group, then he would bring a huge boost to morale as well as his world class ability on the pitch. There's no need to panic, Welbeck has been class, and he showed he can handle the international scene with his brief cameo against Montenegro. I mean, he beat 3 players in one run with his first touches, that's more than we managed as a team all game combined. And there's still Carroll, Bent, Defoe, Crouch and STURRIDGE to choose from. How Sturridge wasn't in the last squad is beyond me.
    I for one am not worried, we will get through the groups and have our best player fresh and ready to redeem himself.
    Also COME ON WALES (rugby)!!!

  • Comment number 71.

    rooney has played to great effect, has he? 2-2 against footballing giants montenegro...

  • Comment number 72.

    Michael Owen? You must be joking !! He is the past. How many games does he get for United. And his main interest now is horses not football. You'll be suggesting that he be paired with Heskey next.
    As for Capello's decision. It's simple. Leave Rooney out, he'll not get a game since England will most likely be coming home after the group stage.
    So a whole summer off for Rooney. Sir Alex will be chuffed !!

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    Maybe give another striker a chance, on international form Rooney would not be missed. After all these years he's never put in a match winning performance in fact, he's rarely even been worth his place.

  • Comment number 75.

    Rooney is a wonderful footballer but a complete thug. Why should we tolerate such petulance, all because we might win (might being the operative word)? Its about time the sycophants shut up and the bigots look up. Our national team is average at best so take the opportunity to technically coach our youngsters and lets start again.

    Oh, and by the way, Michael Owen commenting on the England Rugby louts? Shut up Michael, you know nothing if you support or excuse their behaviour.

    Where the hell are standards these days? Where the professional discipline? I just feel so let down by all this and more.

  • Comment number 76.

    The only other English player in the "Rooney" role is Gerrard. If he's fit he's the natural replacement. One of Capello's problems has been that Rooney and Gerrard play the same game. Trying to shoe-horn Gerrard into a midfield role has never been a success - particularly as it led to he and Lampard stepping on each other's toes. Provided he's fit I don't really see it as much of a step down.

  • Comment number 77.

    At least we still have Hesky . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Comment number 78.

    If you walk up behind someone in the street and kick them in the calf you will be lucky not to be prosecuted. What Roony did was stupid. He probably did it because he knew England was not good enough to qualify so, if he played, he didn't want to be blamed for failing as he wouldn't be involved. Also, how can Garth Crooks say it's "like a dagger to the heart"? Literally it's not otherwise he would be dead. Engage brain before opening mouth or lashing out! Enough said? Answers on a post card

  • Comment number 79.

    75.At 22:42 13th Oct 2011, LambdaMi wrote:
    Rooney is a wonderful footballer but a complete thug. Why should we tolerate such petulance, all because we might win (might being the operative word)? Its about time the sycophants shut up and the bigots look up. Our national team is average at best so take the opportunity to technically coach our youngsters and lets start again

    unfortunately that's not going to happen because the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in is that the managers tenure finishes at the end of this tournament, he has no interest in the future, his ultimate aim is to win this tournament. not at all a good thing for the future of the england team.

  • Comment number 80.

    Firstly it was an obvious three-match ban. The guy has red mists like his elbow last year, but UEFA are obviously stronger than the FA in punishing thugs. You can admire his talent without trying to make excuses for a dreadful act of petulance.
    Secondly "should we take Rooney?". Why decide that now? Surely the last world cup showed us to only pick players on form. Rooney went to the last world cup and was dreadful (and he wasn't the only one). Let's see what his and our other players form is like when we pick the squad and decide then. If Rooney is fit and playing well then I see no reason not to pick him in the squad other than his questionable temperament. If he is out of form like last year after his injury then don't pick him.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's impossible for Capello to take Rooney now, Rooney will play the game after group stages after which we will get knocked out. We may as well get a team sorted now, stick with it and see where we get, not as if England are expected to win anyway!
    Agree with post 76, Gerrard can play the '10' role, he did it successfully for Liverpool behind Torres and can do it again. A front 4 of Gerrard, Young, Bent and one over will get us out of the group stages at least.

  • Comment number 82.

    What about Kevin Phillips?

  • Comment number 83.

    *other not 'over' sorry

  • Comment number 84.

    A couple of points people seem to be forgetting...
    Firstly the European Championships in its current format is arguable one of the hardest tournaments in the world, depending on England’s seeding we could end up playing Spain, Portugal and Croatia or Even worse if we're in pot 3 we could end up with Spain/Germany, Holland and Croatia and that with or without Rooney is a tough ask.

    Secondly why would you not take Rooney he's the only play England have who really worries any opposition. England managers historically make one or two shocking decisions, Walcott in '06, No Gazza in '98, Heskey at any tournament!!!! If anything it gives cappello less scope to pull one of these 'rabbits' out of his hat,

    and what’s to say you pick another striker, stick with the 4-2-3-1 and play Gerard in the hole, its his best position and probably the only way he gets into a balanced England team if you play Wiltshire and Parker in midfield.

    The real question to pose is who makes up the 23 man squad?

  • Comment number 85.

    Rooney is a selfish, petulant, overpaid liability that does not deserve an England team shirt evidently demonstrated by this latest debacle. His 'mercurial brilliance' rarely turns up when its really needed in internationals.
    I'd rather give any of these strikers a chance to prove they are really hungry for a place. Sometimes the best teams are produced from players who don't believe they have a god-given right to be on the field.

    Here's hoping eh Fabio?

  • Comment number 86.

    Rooney will miss the whole tournament.

    Because without him England wiil not be able to survive the group stage.

    Rooney - only at at times, though - is the only world class player England has got. Germany and Spain have got at least seven each, for example.

    A pity - reminds me a bit - though not entirely - of Maradonna:
    great player, rotten character.

  • Comment number 87.

    Let's face it, no other England strikers have Rooney's quality yet. However, if Welbeck and Sturridge continue playing and playing well for United and Chelsea, then those 2 would surely have to be the choice to play. I would even go as far as saying they should both play with Rooney when he's not suspended. Could be a great blessing having Rooney fresh for the big games in my opinion. Just getting rid of the other rubbish in the squad is more of a problem Capello has. He won't address that though, it's way too obvious.

  • Comment number 88.

    I think it's a complex issue as to whether you take Rooney. On the one hand he is arguably our best player and you'd want him in the bigger matches, but on the other hand there is no guarantee we get that far, we are far from being a contender to win. Additionally, a possible scenario: we pick a team that qualifies from the group without Rooney, foster a team spirit and cohesion through three hard fought matches, then reward one of those players who have stepped up to the mark by dropping them for Rooney straight away. I don't think that is great for team harmony.
    Personally I would take him but I think it is really touch and go. I'd like to see Ashley Young in Rooney's role and bring in Adam Johnson on the flank.
    As far as the main striker role, if Darren Bent is the answer then what the hell is the question?!

  • Comment number 89.

    "Is the ban too harsh?"
    It was direct violent conduct - a straight red and we would expect 3 matches in Premier League. Why are we surprised?

    "Should the FA appeal?"
    The FA frequently try to assert their authority and return home with tails between their legs. Pick your battles, this isn't one.

    "Should Rooney actually go to Euron 2012 now?"
    Clearly England are lacking attacking talent. Fabio messed up with the 'randoms' in the squad last time, Rooney is now the wildcard inclusion. Yes of course we take him.

    Rooney messed up. Again. A few months of correct behaviour doesn't detail a turnaround. Frankly I question Fabio's decision to play him given the circumstance. Hot, tempermental player, with sudden influx of personal issues. "Oh you say you are OK, fair enough then......" Fabio messed up with too much trust of established players at the last tournament, and a similar failure of judgement transpired here.

  • Comment number 90.

    No complaints - the punishment should fit the crime - if I kicked someone at work I'd be sacked. Simple..don't kick your opponents and you won't get sent off. Rooney is an idiot and can't control his temper - its always the same with him....everyone wringing hands and saying it is all so unfair. Get a grip of yourselves, no team revolves around one player and there are others that can step in. As for Owen, give me a break - the man is made of glass and past it.

    Rooney will never change and will thus always be a libility. As for taking him, what's the point?

    The Euros are a mighty difficult tourney to win and there are no second chances in the group stages. IMO whether Rooney goes or not, its academic as I don't see this current England setup and management getting us into the knockout stages. Except for Germany in the WC qualifiers, when did England beat a top side in open Play in a major tourney?

    Answers on a Postage stamp please.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think its about time all of the old boys were dropped, except gerrard as captain. terry, rio, carrick, barry, owen, crouch (even though i rate him) even ashley cole. its time to blood the youngsters now and give them the experience.

    rooney should be part of future england set up, but not at euros. wellbeck has looked as good as him at man u anyway.

    hart, walker, smalling, jones, gibbs, cleverley, wilshere, gerrard, young, lennon, wellbeck

  • Comment number 92.

    Capello shouldnt carry that sulky brute through the tournament, its just going to happen again. Capello has no idea how to handle him like Ferguson has thats the main problem. So you can just see a repeat coming. Give Agbonlahor a chance.

  • Comment number 93.

    p.s. 3 match ban is over the top. plattini will be laughing his head off

  • Comment number 94.

    The arguement that Rooney 'left the field quietly' and should therefore have a ban of fewer games is laughable. Let's not forget that he actually kicked someone seconds before leaving the field. Anyway that's how people should react after being sent off! When have you ever heard of a player being shown a red card before having it immediately rescinded after shouting in the ref's face about how wrong he is? Sad to think that the questioning of the ref's decision is to be expected, however futile it is.

  • Comment number 95.

    I would also like to add as a seperate note that our traditional pundits seems to be losing the plot. Where many of them were fresh and independent when they started so they are sucked into the whiney "poor me" culture of current celeb footballers, and old fashioned biases. MOTD has become awful for the quality of punditry, and a pundit claiming shock at a 3 match bad for Rooney is totally disconnected from the real world. THe FA argument was that he;s been quite good since Impressive.

  • Comment number 96.

    Fergie will be sitting at home chuckling to himself knowing Rooney will have a long summers rest next year. Wouldn't even surprise me if Rooney retires from International if dropped either.

  • Comment number 97.

    Bent/crouch/defoe these guys are all ok but are they going to win you a tournament? of corse they arent!!

    welbeck/sturridge/agbonlahor these guys have something different. we MUST take these along with rooney .if we go along the lines of crouch/defoe/ bent the same old average stuff then we might aswell not even bother.

    Rooneys ban will hurt us as much as capello allows it to.

    If he replaces rooney with crouch or defoe, we're doomed.

    If he replaces rooney with welbeck or sturridge we've got every chance.


  • Comment number 98.

    I'd select both Welbeck and Sturridge. Both young pacy players who should show what their made of this year. The experienced players are no great shakes and Andy Caroll? You have got to be joking! He's about as good as a donkey. Rooney has to selected. If he's not selected, then England have no chance. Not only does Rooney bring a different element to the team, it would also signal to others that we don't feel we can progress past the group stages if we can't carry Rooney in the groups.

    I think England should play a fluid 4-3-3 when Wilshere is fit again. I;d get rid of the old guard and start afresh with Parker as the holding mid along with Cleverley and Wilshire in the midfield - 2 genuine ball players- and then I'd have Young, Rooney and 1 other to become a fluid front 3.

  • Comment number 99.

    We may actually win the tournament now. Rather than messing around trying to play "football" with Rooney. A player whose technique is embarrassing by comparison to the likes of Silva, Iniesta, Villa, Sniejder, Ozil etc.

    Pick Crouch up top and play long ball, kick and rush football.

  • Comment number 100.

    I personally cannot understand why Wayne Rooney should ever be considered to play for England again regardless of his undoubted skills on the football field.
    Players at the highest level are in general paid a disproportionate sum of money to those in everyday life. They have the opportunity to lead by example in terms of influencing the behaviour of others for good or bad.
    Just what message does it send that repeated violent behaviour can be ignored. I seem to remember a previous MU colleague of Wayne Rooney sabotaging England's world cup chances by being sent of for a needless fowl.
    Is it not time the English FA issued a directive that any player wearing the English Shirt has to be above reproach both on and off the field and that this is non negotiable.


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