Rooney warned: keep your cool

Four-letter outburst would have earnt a red card in World Cup, says referee after England fail to impress against local side
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The Independent Online

Wayne Rooney was warned by the South African referee who took charge of England's final World Cup warm-up game yesterday that he risks being sent off in the tournament after swearing at the official during England's 3-0 win over the Platinum Stars.

Rooney was booked for dissent by referee Jeff Selogilwe as England laboured against a team of relative unknowns, especially in the first half when Fabio Capello exchanged angry words with the female fourth official.

Selogilwe said: "Rooney insulted me, he said: 'Fuck you.' He is a good player when you see him on the television, but when you see him on the pitch, he just keeps on insulting the referees. To me, it looks like Rooney insults people and fouls other players. If he insults a referee like me, then he will use that vulgar language to other referees as well.

"He must learn to control his temper. He could get sent off in the World Cup, especially if he uses this kind of language. Maybe the England players undermined this game and thought 'this is just a friendly, we can do what we like and the referees are not that professional'.

"I was very disappointed in Rooney because he is my favourite player. He is still my favourite player. He apologised to me and gave me the shirt he was wearing."

Having taken the lead through Jermain Defoe in the first half, England looked as if they would steamroller their opposition but ran into problems and struggled to achieve any fluency in their passing. Platinum Stars even won a penalty with the score at 1-0 but striker Bradley Grobler struck his shot over the bar. Defoe admitted afterwards that Capello "wasn't happy with the performance in the first half".

Capello was reported to have said to his players at half-time: "I know it's a friendly and for charity. But it is also a football match and you had better start treating it as one." He spent just a minute in the dressing room at half-time before coming out to speak to the players who featured in the second half and were warming up on the pitch.

The manager made 10 changes at half-time including replacing first-half goalkeeper Robert Green with Joe Hart. In the first half, the partnership in central midfield between Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard ran into familiar problems. Joe Cole, who was the only one to play the full 90 minutes, and Rooney scored after the break to make life more comfortable for England.

Meanwhile, Gareth Barry said that he would not feature against the United States on Saturday in England's first World Cup finals group game. He said: "I have been told I will not be playing to give me more time and I will be back in full training [today]".

As well as a single training session today,Capello plans to take his players on a safari trip to the Pilanesberg national game reserve. Defoe said that Capello had criticised his first-half team, in which the Spurs striker reprised his club partnership with Peter Crouch, for not pressing their opposition.

Capello said: “The important thing was that nobody got injured. That was the only thing that counted. The rest doesn’t matter. [This] morning we train. In the afternoon, we’ll go on a short safari to break up the schedule. It’ll be special if we can see some spectacular things. It’s just a shame that it gets dark so early otherwise we’d see more.”

Defoe said: "Maybe we could have pressed a bit more but, like I said before, it was quite difficult because of the conditions and I think we'll improve on that. In the second half, the lads pressed a bit more and it was better.

"I think Wayne's temper is a good thing. When you've got that fire in your belly as a player, if you take that away from him then he won't be the same player. In a friendly, it's in the back of your mind because you don't want to pick up any injuries. You look at the other teams and their friendlies, and they're picking up so many injuries, so you are aware that you have to be careful. But, at the same time, you have to go out there and be professional.

"The manager is a great character. All he wants to do is win. He gets you fired up before the games and he's right: at the end of the day, he wants you to press, press high up, win the ball back and give 100 per cent in every game. Even in training. And that's what we've done."

The game was a success for the Football Association who invited local people in for free and drew an attendance of around 10,000. They invited 28 children from a local home to have T-shirts signed by the players on the pitch at the end of the game.

There had been fears over safety at the 20,000 capacity stadium after the stampede at a Nigeria friendly against North Korea on Sunday but the game passed off peacefully. The FA's Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "The FA are extremely grateful to General Mbembe of the South African police service. His help and organisation ensured the event ran smoothly, allowing the children to enjoy the game."

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