James advises Rooney to call in psychologist

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The Independent Football

Now he is being offered more advice than he may be able to cope with. It has ranged from suggestions that he should carry on as he is - brilliant but temperamental - and just accept that all such players always suffer at the hands of their detractors to recommendations that a psychologist could set him right.

Sir Bobby Charlton, once also an influential force for England and United, adheres to the former school of thought. "There is no great difference between Wayne Rooney and Denis Law and George Best," he said yesterday. "Denis and George were always getting sent off for stupid things, never for serious foul play. It was part of their make-up. It never changed and Wayne will not change either, nor should you want him to."

Sven Goran Eriksson's message was "steadier as you go". The England coach said: "It has been a difficult time for Wayne but I am certain he will learn from his mistakes and bounce back. He is only 19 and he is already one of the best young players in the world."

One of the more adventurous suggestions came from a seemingly unlikely source. David James, the Manchester City and occasional England goalkeeper who has used a sports psychologist for many years, thinks that the fiery forward should do likewise. "It's helped me," James said of his work with a psychologist. "I'm a much-improved goalkeeper, professional athlete if you like, because of my psychology work. So it does help. He will learn, I'm sure."

Whether or not he takes any of the advice that is being offered, Rooney has to find a way of coping with the pressures of the game - on and off the pitch - if he is to help either his club or country to achieve their aims.

Today would not be too soon to start when United face another dose of fierce rivalry when they play Liverpool.