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Expectation hindered Wayne Rooney - Sir Alex Ferguson

Wayne Rooney

Rooney blasts booing England fans

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claims the weight of expectation on Wayne Rooney was to blame for his poor World Cup.

Rooney failed to score in four matches and looked a shadow of the player who shone for United last season.

"There was such expectation on him, talk he was going to be the player of the tournament," said Ferguson.

"That was the prelude to the whole thing. You wait, in four years' time you'll see a different player."

Ferguson admitted he had been concerned by the hyperbole surrounding his striker at the start of the tournament.

"Rooney was going to be the star, he was going to outshine them all - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo. So that level of expectation comes into it," he added.

"And he's not got great experience of playing in the World Cup really."

United before England every time

The Scot revealed he was "baffled" by England's poor form in South Africa. Fabio Capello's team finished second in their group, behind the United States, and were then hammered 4-1 by Germany in the second round.

"That is going to be one of the imponderables - what has really happened and why are they [England] not getting better form," stated Ferguson.

"I watched their games and was baffled by what I saw. Expectation was a big thing. They qualified from a group which you'd have to say was a million to one they wouldn't qualify from. So it was an easy passage into the finals.

England's World Cup dream is over

England's World Cup dream is over

"Maybe it would have been better if England had been in a tougher [qualifying] group. They'd have earned the right to be one of the favourites and it would have helped that they'd played good teams before they got there."

Ferguson said he had been particularly impressed with Germany and argued that their winning mentality and the Bundesliga's winter break had helped them through to the semi-finals.

"The history they've got [in Germany] is quite incredible," said Ferguson. "That organised mentality they have, the belief in themselves, it carries them a long way.

"The German mentality is 'we are always in the semi-finals'.

"Plus the fact they get a month's rest in January - it must help. All the England team are playing [in the Premier League] so they're all affected [by the lack of a winter break]."

However, Ferguson is tipping the Netherlands - who take on Uruguay in Tuesday's first semi-final - to win the World Cup.

He added: "I don't think they have played anywhere near their best form."

Downcast England players

Highlights - Germany 4-1 England

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see also
Rooney says sorry to England fans
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England still have issues - Cole
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
No rift in England camp - Lampard
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
No fears over Rooney - Ferdinand
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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