May 19, 2013
Rooney under fire but Capello defends England selection
Wayne Rooney came under a barrage of criticism from the media today after his red card in England's 2-2 draw in Montenegro ruled him out for at least the first match of Euro 2012.
The striker had helped set up both England goals before being sent off for a kick at Miodrag Dzudovic with 20 minutes left to put his side under pressure.
England went on to concede a late equaliser but hung on for the point they needed to top Group G.
Newspaper headlines took a swipe at the striker, whose father and uncle were this week arrested and released on police bail in an inquiry into an alleged betting scam.
"We will Roo this moment," "Roo Fool!" and "An Idiot Abroad" read some of the headlines.
As this was England's last qualifier, he faces a minimum one-match ban for June's finals in Ukraine and Poland but that could be increased by UEFA.
England have no other player like Rooney, who can be deadly as a striker but also link up play, and Capello must deal with his absence.
The Italian coach defended his decision to pick Rooney, who was also sent off in the 2006 World Cup.
"It was no mistake to pick him. I spoke with him before the game and he was relaxed and calm, then went out on the pitch and made this silly mistake," Capello told reporters.
Captain John Terry tried to look on the bright side.
"We can look over the course of this campaign and be pleased at how we've come back after the (2010) World Cup," he said.
"We've seen players come in and refresh the group, playing for places. There have been a lot of young players coming in and with the established players we have as well, we've always said it's a great mix."