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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 08:24 GMT
Moyes calms Rooney 'rift'

Everton boss David Moyes has played down suggestions he has fallen out with Wayne Rooney as he defended the teenager's lack-lustre club form.

Rooney appeared to react angrily when substituted only 10 minutes after half-time in the 2-0 defeat at Bolton that sent Everton into the Premiership's bottom three.

It came shortly after Moyes declared his unhappiness at Rooney - who has scored only once for Everton this season - using his day off to go on an advertising trip to Madrid.

But he calmed talk of a rift as he said: "Let's remember his age and what is expected of him. He's a great player with great ability and potential so we will need to look after him.

Not every boy of 18 can play well in every game and play as everybody expects him to
David Moyes on Rooney

"Maybe we have been playing him too much, maybe we have to look at it and say he's starting too many games and we are expecting too much of him."

Rooney's first rest may come on Wednesday when Everton travel to Middlesbrough for a third round Carling Cup tie.

"I think we all expect too much and maybe even Wayne, on occasions, feels he has to live up to that but in the main he is a terrific player and he is going to become a great player," added Moyes.

"We just need to realise ourselves that he is a young boy who is still learning and not every boy of 18 can play well in every game and play as everybody expects him to."

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