Alex Ferguson slams police officer over Wayne Rooney comments

Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Superintendent Mark Payne of "needing to be noticed" after his pointed comments about Wayne Rooney yesterday.

Payne, responsible for managing responses to crime and operations in Wolverhampton, claimed he would have expected his officers to have arrested Rooney had the Manchester United striker replicated his four-letter outburst at Upton Park on Saturday in a public place.

The suggestion brought a withering response from Ferguson.

"Everyone has an opinion today," he said.

"There is an issue in the modern world of a need to be noticed.

"There is a wee guy, sitting down there in the Midlands, probably never been recognised in his life, managed to elevate himself to whatever it is in the police force.

"Have you ever seen Wolverhampton on a Saturday night? Do police ever arrest anyone for swearing on a Saturday night? Dearie me. That is a good one."

Payne said on his blog on policing: "If Rooney had behaved like that in Wolverhampton on Saturday night, I would have expected my officers to lock him up.

"People in positions of influence have an obligation to behave like human beings. It is not a lot to ask."

Mr Payne went on: "I have seen a thousand Rooneys, and I am sure most police officers will have.

"The same aggressive stance, the bulging eyes, the foul-mouthed rant, fists clenched, surrounded by his mates, all cheering him on.

"I have seen this on Friday and Saturday nights, as young men (and more often young ladies) engage in a 'good night out'.

"My officers will face more Rooneys over the weekend, no doubt somebody will be injured in some meaningless fight. An officer will have to go and tell a parent that their son or daughter is in hospital as a result."

In their immediate reactions yesterday to Rooney's two-match suspension being confirmed by the Football Association, both United and the player made their displeasure known.

Rooney clearly believes he is a victim of double standards.

And Ferguson feels the whole incident has put massive pressure on referee Lee Mason.

"I don't know if you can use the word fair any longer," said Ferguson, recalling that his use of the word at Chelsea last month landed him with a five-game touchline ban.

"We put an appeal in. The lad has apologised for swearing but I don't think we expected to get a result.

"It will bring us together. It is a plus for us.

"But the one I feel sorry for is Lee Mason. He has put himself in a terrible position.

"He has been put under pressure. There is no doubt about that.

"It is hard to imagine the referee would send a player off for scoring a hat-trick.

"But he has now put himself in the spotlight. If he doesn't send a player off for swearing the question will be, has he got double standards.

"It is a very difficult position the lad is in. I feel for him. I really do. I don't know where his career is going to go now.

"I think he was put under pressure."

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed young defender Rafael will miss tomorrow's Premier League encounter with Fulham at Old Trafford after suffering a knee injury in the Champions League win at Chelsea on Wednesay.

However, the 20-year-old is expected to be fit for Tuesday's second leg.

The good news for United is that John O'Shea and Wes Brown have both recovered from hamstring problems and both are available to face the Cottagers.