Another World Cup year, a different continent, a different country, but still the same old ‘Wazza’. Yet again as England prepare to unleash the three lions onto their World Cup opponents, Wayne Rooney is unleashing his usual torrent of abuse towards referee’s.
Yesterday’s fiasco was totally unacceptable from arguably the best player in the world this season with the poor referee, Jeff Selogilwe, claiming that Rooney abused him with “vulgar language”.
Selogilwe was justified in brandishing the yellow card, irrespective of the lowly status of the game, and it will serve as a timely reminder to Rooney that World Cup officials may not be so patient or lenient. To say that Selogilwe was unimpressed by Rooney was an understatement – he may not be so lucky if he loses his cool again so obviously in the World Cup.
If he can blow up, however briefly, in a game of such minor significance, what might he be tempted to do when the World Cup is at stake? In Rooney’s defence he has curbed many of his former excesses and matured greatly in recent times, but he showed signs of his short fuse in the friendly win against Japan and it was on display here again.
When is he going to realise that he can’t keep throwing abuse towards match officials? When is he going to realise that England will not win the World Cup without him? Those are the two questions that he really needs to ask himself.
Rooney demonstrated his class by enlivening a poor England performance after emerging as a substitute for the second half, setting up a goal for Joe Cole and scoring himself after Jermain Defoe had made the early breakthrough.
Ahead of the match against Platinum Stars, England vice-captain Frank Lampard had warned his team-mates that discipline on the field will be a key factor if they are to be successful in the tournament. He also rejected suggestions that Rooney, who was was sent off for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho at the last World Cup in 2006, might lose his cool again.
Capello can now take this opportunity to give Rooney one last lecture about his responsibilities before the competition gets under way. The message is simple – England simply cannot afford to be without him, as he showed in flashes here. In his absence, England can look worryingly witless, a flaw that makes it even more vital that he avoids the sort of needless conflict he became embroiled in.
It’s time the immature Rooney showed us the beast that his sealed within him. It’s time Wayne Rooney showed the world that he has matured into a man, and there’s no better stage to do it.
Written By Jonathan Moulds