No one likes being subbed, particularly after a poor performance. I recall once being hauled off with ten minutes left in a cup semi final; I’d just stuck a one-on-one wide and was not in the best of moods. Like the Manchester United striker I chucked my boots off in disgust. This outburst was soon followed by a clip around the ear from my grandad. In fairness, I’d saved months of paper round money for those Puma Kings, and was only 14 years old.
Wayne Rooney however, does not pay for his boots and he’s probably too old for a clip round the ear (although Sir Alex may not completely agree with that sentiment). But last night’s display of petulance against Besiktas is a characteristic that the forward has shown on more than one occasion in the past.
Many, including his manager, insist that this feature is something that can be channelled in a massively positive way, it shows determination and drive. However, from a fans perspective, it is ‘well funny when players have a strop’, so lets look at Rooney’s top 5 tantrums:
1. Northern Ireland vs England
Possibly the lowest point of Sven Goran Eriksson’s time as England boss, the 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland showed a petulant side to the, then teenage, Rooney. Successive fouls borne out of frustration saw him booked and as a result suspended, captain David Beckham saw fit to step in and appealed to the young forward to maintain his calm. As opposed to heeding advice passed down from his skipper, Rooney tore into a expletive filled rant at Beckham that started on the pitch and continued in the dressing room at half time.
2. Villarreal vs Manchester United
Only a week after the incident against Northern Ireland, Rooney again let his temperament get the better of him. In a Champions League tie at Villarreal he was booked after a foul on Quique Alverez and decided that an injustice had been done. Given that he himself had received some rough treatment from the Spanish side’s back four, Rooney sarcastically clapped the referee’s decision… right in his face. A second yellow card duly followed, and not even Alex Ferguson defended his striker’s actions on this occasion.
3. England vs Portugal
A moment that many see as defining the character of the man. Rooney, after fighting for fitness to take any part in the 2006 World Cup, saw himself at the centre of controversy once more. In the 62nd minute, battling for possession with Chelsea’s Ricardo Carvalho, a stray boot seemed to come down rather heavily around the more delicate area of the Portugal defender’s torso. Right under the nose of the referee. He was dismissed, and England’s hopes of success in the tournament went up in smoke.
4. Fulham vs Manchester United
The bane of many a referee, Rooney found himself sent off in a Premier League game at Craven Cottage in 2009, again for two bookable decisions. Never one to take criticism well, he hurled a mouthful of expletives at referee Phil Dowd and stormed off. A keen amateur boxer, Rooney also took his frustrations out on the corner flag before heading down the tunnel, with a well placed right hook.
5. Wayne Rooney vs David Moyes
Not limiting his outbursts to the football pitch, Rooney also landed himself in hot water with his previous manager. He stated in his autobiography that he was virtually forced out of Goodison Park after Moyes shared some intimate details of the young forward’s private life with the Liverpool Echo. With no foundation to the claims whatsoever, the Everton boss took him to court and Rooney was forced to pay around £350,000 in damages.
6. England v Sweden
In hindsight the signs of what was to follow in the Portugal match were already there to see in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup. Clearly frustrated at not being able to reach his usual lofty levels as he rushed back from his metatarsal injury to face Sweden, Rooney’s attitude was begining to suffer. In an incident remarkably similar to last night’s tantrum, Wazza chucked a wobbly when he was substituted by Sven Goran Eriksson. And like last night it was his Nikes that bore the brunt of his temper.