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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Rooney's red mist
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney's dismissal for sarcastically applauding referee Kim Milton Nielsen was the bitter icing on the cake after a turbulent week.

On Wednesday, the Manchester United star's indiscipline landed him a red card during the Champions League clash against Villarreal.

And the previous Wednesday, he was the subject of much scrutiny following his hot-headed display and reported fracas with his England team-mates during the World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland.

BBC Sport asked ex-professionals Mark Lawrenson and Chris Waddle about their view on the England enigma.


So, what did you think of Wednesday's incident with referee Nielsen?

ML: In all honesty, up until the minute he got booked, he was a gentleman. If he went into a challenge and caught someone he would pick them up and shake their hand and he was really trying.

But the red mist descended, and that's him.

CW: You are going to have to pay the consequences if you sarcastically clap at a referee.

You can't do that to any referee whether it's in the Premiership, the Champions League or at international level.

Is he spiralling out of control?

CW: I think he has to learn. He's got a short fuse, very similar to Paul Gascoigne and Eric Cantona. Gazza and Eric were very good footballers but they seemed to live on the edge, just like Wayne.

ML: He's not out of control. I think he's a lot like Ian Wright when he went to Arsenal.

Wrighty was the same, but he coped with it eventually. He channelled it into other areas, but it takes a while to work out and Wayne's still only 19.

Can Wayne change and what can be done to help change him?

ML: You can send him to counselling, to all sorts, sit down and talk to him if you're Sir Alex Ferguson - but come the moment when he's gonna lose it it's down to him, no-one can help you.

He's just going to have to grow up more than an average 19-year-old because of the business he's in, but it's down to him.

CW: I don't think Wayne will ever change. People were saying to Gazza during his teen years that he can't carry on with what he was doing, but later in his career he was still doing the same.

With Wayne, you can slap fines and bans on him, but he'll still do the same thing next week if he feels things aren't going his way.

So, do you think it would be wrong to calm him down?

CW: If you take the beast away from these guys then they won't be the same players. Wayne's a fantastic talent and that fire he has makes him the great player that he is.

Although I'm sure Wayne will continue grabbing the headlines for his goalscoring exploits, he'll also get his fair share of criticism. He'll have a love-hate relationship with the newspapers.

ML: People say they wish he had the temperament of Michael Owen, but if he did he just wouldn't be Wayne Rooney.

I think Wrighty's the best example. He wanted to fight the world and thought every foul was a major injustice, but he learned that actually it was the biggest backhanded compliment he could be paid.




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