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Mar 6, 2010

Sir Alex blames injured Rooney for England run

Sir Alex Ferguson has blamed Wayne Rooney for getting himself injured while playing for England and attacked England officials and the media for contributing to the star striker's knee problem.

Rooney a doubt for Milan game

• Paper Round: Hail the Red Knights
• Owen out for season

Perhaps frustrated by the news that Michael Owen is out for the season, Ferguson launched a public criticism of Rooney for playing in the midweek friendly against Egypt. Ferguson rarely lashes out at players in the media, so it was surprising he broke that rule to attack Rooney, his best player.

Rooney could miss Manchester United's Premier League trip to Wolves after aggravating a pre-existing knee niggle during his 86-minute appearance for England on a Wembley surface Ferguson feels contributed to Owen's hamstring tear.

Rooney was suffering discomfort from a long-standing knee niggle immediately after Sunday's Carling Cup final and although Ferguson allowed the striker to link up with England ahead of their friendly with Egypt, he was not expecting the 24-year-old to be involved.

Given his widely-publicised reservations about the Wembley pitch, Ferguson is unhappy at how long Rooney was asked to play on it. However, he has absolved Fabio Capello from any responsibility and insists Rooney should have taken care of the situation himself.

"There were changes made and I thought Rooney would be one of them," Ferguson said. "It's disappointing. I don't blame Fabio at all, but don't forget he [Rooney] was not supposed to be playing at all. That's what Wayne told us on Sunday because he was feeling his knee.

"Then all of a sudden you press get hold of him, and people put an arm round his shoulder with England, and he wants to play. He went into the game with an injury and I don't think he should have played but his own enthusiasm has caused it. He can't say no, that's his problem.

"Fabio Capello has to pick his best team. A win was important so I don't blame him at all. I was more disappointed with Wayne. Why didn't he come off? I cant believe it.''

It is a measure of Ferguson's respect for Capello that he has adopted such a neutral view of the Italian's involvement. He even watched Wednesday's game and got a feeling England are on to something good.

"It was the best I have seen England play for years,'' he said. "You saw them on Wednesday and you say to yourself that team has a chance in the World Cup.''

Only with Rooney in there scrapping though. After scoring 28 goals this season, the former Everton man has already heeded some valuable lessons in the art of being a striker. Now Ferguson wants him to absorb a few more about conserving energy.

"It is hard to quell the enthusiasm of people like Wayne,'' he said. "He is restless. He can't sit down. He is always on the move. Even in hotels he is moving from one table to another. If we are away in Europe he is walking about all the time. You don't want to take away from him but age does some good things for you. Eventually you see you can't be doing this running about all the time. You have to take a rest sometimes.''

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