Keane: Beware the bored Rooney

Hodgson must handle striker with care at Euros, says former United team-mate

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The Independent Online

When it comes to being cooped up in a hotel on international duty, ennui can quickly set in. And that, said Wayne Rooney's former Manchester United team-mate Roy Keane, could be a problem for England at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

"I think Wayne will have a big problem with the boredom, mentally trying to build up for a game," Keane says. "English and Irish players are the same, I don't think we are good at hanging around hotels and training camps in the middle of nowhere. As you get older you might be married and have kids, you might appreciate the peace and quiet, but Wayne is still young, he's pretty active, mentally.

"It doesn't suit England being stuck in hotels. That was a problem at the last World Cup. I think they need breathing space. There is a lot of media intrusion with England, but you have to give players a little bit of freedom.

"The last World Cup they were holed up somewhere [the Austrian Alps] for two or three weeks beforehand and the players were p****d off with that. That's where Roy Hodgson has come in and said: 'What do we need to make us a better team, and what can we knock on the head?' Cancelling the trip to Spain [originally planned for this week] was good management. Players don't need training camps at this time of year."

As he is suspended from England's opening two matches at Euro 2012, Rooney is not expected to play in the warm-ups. This would mean he will go more than five weeks without a game after playing for Manchester United at Sunderland on the closing day of the Premier League.

"Roy will have to get the balance right with what Wayne does on the training pitch, he has to keep him sharp without overdoing it or getting irritated he's not playing," said Keane. "There are pluses, he'll be fresh and he'll give England something different, but it is not as if Wayne can feel his way into the tournament. It's, 'You have to produce today.' As good a player as he is, that is difficult."

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