Rooney claims he is 'blameless' in latest outburst of temper

Wayne Rooney believes he was "blameless" in an altercation with a paparazzi photographer whom he claims was "persistently invading the privacy" of an evening he was sharing with his wife Coleen in London on Tuesday.

Rooney was interviewed under caution by police outside a restaurant in Hanway Street after allegedly spitting at the photographer who, according to Rooney's version of events, followed the couple inside. "The photographer had to be evicted. Wayne was happy to co-operate fully and to give a clear version of the events in which he believes he was blameless," a spokesman for the 22-year-old said yesterday.

It remains to be seen if the incident will elicit further action from the Metropolitan Police. Deliberately spitting at someone is an offence of common assault. But the altercation, which saw Rooney questioned at the scene but not arrested, contributes to a sense that married life has not – in its first two months at any rate – calmed him down and that a summer of inactivity has left the Manchester United striker as combustible as ever.

It was Pele who suggested three weeks ago that Rooney needed to check his temper – to "learn how to defend himself, not attack the opponent" – and Rooney demonstrated the legend's point only too visibly a week later when the physicality of the Kaizer Chiefs defenders saw him boil over in Cape Town. Rooney might have been booked for kicking out at Onismor Bhasera in the first half and was puce-faced by the time he earned a justifiable yellow for ploughing into Tinashe Nengomasha.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who substituted Rooney for his own good, is rarely inclined to suggest his player needs to watch his temper. "Wayne's a fighter isn't he?" the United manager said. "He's a born fighter and gets frustrated in some games." It was a familiar line of argument. "I would rather have a player who showed a bit of heart than just accepted it," Ferguson said three years ago after more inner rage had contributed to England's excruciating 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland in Belfast. "If he didn't do that, he would be criticised for not caring enough, so what do people want?"

Rooney's temperament is now spawning a vocabulary all of its own. The Chinese footballer Ma Xiaoxu, expected to be a star of the hosts' women's side at the Olympics until picking up an injury this week, is known as the "female Wayne Rooney" because of her talent and temper.

But Rooney is reaching a critical stage in his personal development. Last season was a disappointing one by his own standards; the first since he burst onto the scene at Everton six years ago in which he did not exceeded his previous campaign's goal tally, and there is a growing consensus that his temperament is checking his development.

Fabio Capello acknowledged as much after another red-faced performance in England's 2-0 friendly victory over the United States in May when Rooney battered a loose ball into the advertising hoardings when a decision went against him and then risked sanction for two crude challenges. The England coach admitted he would be discussing the issue with him. "I have to explain to him that he must not do these tackles," Capello said. "I've seen the same thing in training. It is normal for him, and I told him that, but I was worried for the other players."

Ferguson is probably the only manager who can effect any change. He acknowledged during United's South African tour that had had contributed to the player's frustration last season by not better defining his role in the team and hinted that, temperamentally at least, there is room for development. "At 22 he was never going to be the finished article," Ferguson said. "When you sign players at 18 it's for the long view."

Red mist: When England's finest talent has boiled over

The invective: Vents his spleen at David Beckham during the 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland in September 2005

The stamp: Becomes only the third England player to be dismissed in a World Cup match when he was sent off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho during the quarter-final against Portugal in 2006, which England lost on penalties.

The pre-season rage: Sent off again in August 2006 during a match against Porto in the Amsterdam Tournament for elbowing defender Pepe. Similar anger in Cape Town against Kaizer Chiefs last month.

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album