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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Ferguson warns media over Rooney
Wayne Rooney after England's defeat to Croatia on Wednesday
Ferguson believes Rooney will soon recapture his form
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the media are relishing Wayne Rooney's slump in form.

"You are obviously hoping I might say that's the end of Wayne Rooney, or something like that," Ferguson told reporters on Friday.

"And you're actually hoping that yourself, I think. It makes great headlines for you.

"He needs to focus on what we are telling him and not listen to what the press are telling him."

But the United manager said he expected a return to form very soon, telling journalists: "You know deep down - and every defender in the country knows deep down - that the lad is going to come to life."

Sometimes young players start believing what they read in the papers and it can be self-destructive

Sir Alex Ferguson

Rooney has not scored in eight games for Manchester United and England.

His two goals this season came in the 5-2 win over Fulham on 20 August - and the 20-year-old has been criticised for his lack of form.

Ferguson warned that the media attention could be harming the player.

"Sometimes young players start believing what they read in the papers and it can be self-destructive," the Scot said.

"I have seen it many times. He's your number one seller. You had Gascoigne, Beckham, Best. You look for a hero that you can sell papers with and he's your hero at the moment.

"Without him you'll never sell the same number of papers and whether it's good or bad you are going to sell it some way."

And the United manager believes that once Rooney has played more games he will recapture the sort of form that made him one of the most highly-rated teenagers in the world.

Steve McClaren has the ability (to be England coach) and he should be left to get on with it

Sir Alex Ferguson

"Since his injury last May, he has played about nine games in six months," said the United boss of Rooney, who broke a metatarsal bone in his foot in May.

"He has not had a lot of football for a young lad. His training has been OK but all that helps is his fitness, you can't beat playing games."

Rooney's last game was England's 2-0 defeat in Croatia in a Euro 2008 qualifying match in Zagreb.

"I don't think he played that badly on Wednesday," said Ferguson.

"I spoke to the lad and I thought he did well. He is gradually getting his game back and it will come."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has also come to the defence of under-fire England coach Steve McClaren following England's poor performances against Macedonia and Croatia.

McClaren was assistant manager when United won the Treble in 1999 and Ferguson said: "Steve has the ability and he should be left to get on with it.

"There has been the usual over-reaction and some of the things being said are pretty abusive.

"The thing that hurts you the most is when you see stuff from 'a source within the FA'. I am sure there is no source but it is hard to deal with."

Rooney admits to England fan row
13 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Croatia 2-0 England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Shearer backs Rooney to come good
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals


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