Terry defends Rooney aggression

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The Independent Online

John Terry has only one complaint about Wayne Rooney's stormy performance against the Platinum Stars - that he wasn't on the pitch for the first half as well.

A succession of team-mates and former professionals have offered an opinion on Rooney's explosion at referee Jeff Selogilwe on Monday, with opinion divided over how in-control Rooney was.

But after a tepid first-half display, Terry believes the aggression on show was exactly what Capello would have wanted from a side he gave a ferocious tongue-lashing to in a brief half-time rant.

"We could have done with Wayne on the pitch in the first half giving everyone a kick up the backside," said Terry.

"I was a little bit nervous when he gave the ball away and went into the tackle but I certainly don't think Wayne has a problem.

"From what we have seen in the last two or three years I honestly feel that he has grown up a lot."

Former England keeper Gordon Banks worries that Rooney will not be able to keep his cool when England begin their campaign against the United States on Saturday - an outcome which could have dire consequences for the Three Lions' hopes of their first World Cup win since Banks' team were triumphant 44 years ago.

"Imagine getting sent off for swearing at the referee! That's the most ridiculous thing ever," Banks told Press Association Sport. "If that does happen in the World Cup that would be stupid. It would be really silly.

"This season he has played absolutely fantastically for Manchester United. He really has been outstanding but at the same time I thought, like a lot of people, that he had got over that, that silly 'I have to kick him or chase somebody to kick them' idea.

"The officials won't mess around in this competition. If he does that in the World Cup then he'll get sent off.

"If he does that in a big game when we're winning and we get knocked out then that would be an absolute disaster.

"Capello should now remind that he just has to carry on scoring goals, and not to concentrate on retaliation or anything to do with having a go at referees or linesmen."

For all the controversy, Rooney's introduction on Monday did inspire an upturn in England's performance as he set up a goal for Joe Cole and then scored himself to round off a 3-0 win.

And Terry believes Capello's wrath, following an awful first-half performance, also made an impression.

"He was not pleased," revealed Terry.

"It was the worst, the angriest, I have seen him.

"We worked all week on pressing, not letting people turn and get time on the ball - and we did not do that.

"He had his say at half-time in a manner I have not seen before and it was quite understandable.

"But it sums him up. He is a winner. Even in training he can go like that from nothing."

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