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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 16, 2006

Stamp on Carvalho was not deliberate, insists Rooney

England striker Wayne Rooney insists his stamp on Ricardo Carvalho during the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal was not deliberate.

Rooney, 20, was dismissed after the challenge on the Chelsea centre-back and a subsequent confrontation with Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

England held on to a goalless draw against Portugal but went on to lose on penalties.

In his book serialised in the Mail on Sunday, Rooney said: 'In being forced back, I had trod on the player on the ground.

'It turned out to be Carvalho. And I was aware that my foot had landed between his legs, which, of course, is about the nastiest place to get hurt, but it was an accident.

'I couldn't believe that the ref, who was so near, hadn't realised that. Perhaps he was too near.'

Rooney added: 'I'll go to my grave and still maintain it was a complete accident. I hadn't intended to do it. I had my back to the player. I couldn't see him, or where I was putting my foot.

'If you think about it, if I'd done it deliberately, if it had been a definite stamp meant to harm him, the fella would still be in hospital to this day. But he was up on his feet in minutes, no worse for wear.'

Rooney insists Cristiano Ronaldo did not try to wind him up in the tunnel before England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal in Gelsenkirchen.

The Manchester United pair were pictured before the game, with suggestions Portugal winger Ronaldo was attempting to provoke Rooney into losing his temper when the match kicked off.

Rooney said: 'First of all, in the tunnel, we wished each other good luck in the game, hoped it went well, which is what you say to a team-mate. Okay, he wasn't in my team that day but you still wish a fellow professional a good game.

'Then he asked me if I'd heard where Quinton Fortune was going. I said no, did he know where he was going? Quinton's a friend and club-mate of both of us and he was reported to be leaving United.

'Neither us knew the latest. So that was it. We said good luck to each other, once more. And then the game began.'

Defeat to Portugal also marked the end of Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign as England manager, and Rooney enjoyed playing for the Swede despite never seeing him 'lose his temper or shout'.

He added: 'I felt a bit sad though that Sven was leaving. I think he was forced out by the press. They backed him into the corner. I always found him a very clever man and a good manager.

'They said he wasn't emotional enough and it's true I never saw him lose his temper or shout. But I think he was emotional, deep down. He did care. With him, it was always inside his body. I always liked his style, his calm manner.

'He did do his homework and prepared well, got his points across clearly. Most of all, he always trusted the players 100 per cent. I like a manager who does that, who doesn't treat us like kids.'

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