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By ESPN Staff

Rooney slams lack of protection from referees

England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney believes he does not get enough protection from referees.

The 21-year-old is such a key player he is immediately a target for opponents and he feels he should be spared some of the treatment he receives.

'For some reason refs think I should be able to protect myself without their help,' he said. 'I've had some bad tackles on me but I'll get up where other players will roll around. So the refs think there's nothing wrong with me.'

Rooney has also developed a reputation for having a fiery temper on the pitch but he claims he is trying to combat that.

'I just want to play football and sometimes I get angry and sometimes I don't,' he added. 'I just try to hold myself back and think for a minute, then react after that. I think I'm getting better and I'm learning how to take a deep breath.

'I try not to get involved because I know if I do get frustrated it can affect my performance.'

Rooney is also confident the Premiership leaders can maintain their position and win their first championship in four years.

The Red Devils currently hold an eight-point advantage over defending champions Chelsea and the United forward believes they can hold Jose Mourinho's side at bay.

'We know it's a long campaign and the challenge will be difficult,' he said. 'However, we're confident and hopefully this season is the one to bring back the title.

'If I can score, get a few more assists and keep producing big performances then, hopefully, that will help us win the Premiership.'