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FootballNewsSir Clive Woodward questions Ferguson’s handling of Rooney, slams ‘light’ discipline in football

Sir Clive Woodward questions Ferguson’s handling of Rooney, slams ‘light’ discipline in football


By Alex Miller

at SportAccord, London

6 April 2011

Sir Clive Woodward has today implied that Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson is failing to manage Wayne Rooney’s temperament adequately, following the troubled striker’s recent foul-mouthed goal celebration.

Rooney shouted an expletive into a live Sky television camera after scoring a hat-trick against West Ham on Saturday. The incident was just the latest episode of perceived petulance by Rooney, and earned the England forward a two-match ban from the FA – a ban he is contesting.

World-cup winning England rugby union coach Woodward – who had an ill-fated spell in football at Southampton – said he believes Rooney’s manager is failing to tackle the problem behaviour.

‘As a coach, you would need to ask “Why would you as a player do that”?’, Woodward said during a panel discussion today at the Sportaccord conference in London. ‘Part of the coach’s job is to coach people to handle pressure moments.’

Woodward added that Rooney’s two-game ban following the incident was insufficient and that the club itself should do more to police the player’s behaviour. He compared Rooney’s ban with the six-month ban former England player Neil Back received for pushing over referee Steve Lander at the end of the 1996 Pilkington Cup final between Leicester and Bath.

‘The penalties are so light in football,’ Sir Clive said. ‘You would hope (football) clubs would be big enough to ban the players themselves.’

Despite a history of bad behaviour, Woodward believes Rooney can still leave a fantastic legacy.

‘Is Rooney an iconic figure? In my view no. He is delivering for Manchester United potentially, but he needs to deliver at international level. For me international football is still the pinnacle and if he plays well for England in a World Cup, then his legacy will last.’


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And another view … Sam Wallace’s column on Rooney in The Independent on Monday is recommended for a refreshingly alternative view

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