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Oct 8, 2011

Redknapp worried by Rooney ban

Harry Redknapp fears Wayne Rooney's red card in Montenegro could "cost England dearly" at Euro 2012.

• Montenegro 2-2 England
• Capello reveals Rooney apology
• Hart: Red decision was pathetic
• Euro 2012 round-up

Rooney, who has had to cope with negative headlines relating to his family this week, played a starring role as England ran up a 2-0 lead but, with the score at 2-1, was sent off for a petulant kick at Miodrag Dzudovic in the second half. Montenegro then scored a late equaliser.

England had required only a point to qualify, but Rooney will be suspended for at least one group-stage match at Euro 2012. Fabio Capello had received assurances that Rooney was in the right frame of mind and defended his selection after the game - "I can't enter into the head of Wayne Rooney when he plays," he said - but Redknapp fears it will prove costly next summer.

"It looked like [Capello was right to select Rooney] for most of the game - but then what Rooney did was just stupid," Redknapp said in his Sun column. I was thinking how mature he looked and how the situation involving his dad and his uncle had clearly not affected him and he had moved on, but a likely two-game ban at the start of the Euro 2012 finals is a massive, massive blow for England.

"He just cannot go around doing that sort of thing. We thought we'd seen the last of it but I guess he had his angry head on after all. Rooney is a ferocious competitor for Manchester United and for England but there has to be a line.

"It's hugely disappointing. He could be missing for the entire group stage and the rush of blood could end up costing him and England dearly. You can't help but note it was Rooney heavily involved in both goals and we can only hope his ban isn't too lengthy."

He added: "Rooney looked back to his best and, until his red card, it appeared to be a question of who plays up front with him. Does he go up as the striker with Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard playing off him, or does he support a striker. Now it might need a major re-think for the finals."

Despite his fears over Rooney's unavailability, Redknapp believes Capello got his selection and tactics right and that England can still be considered genuine contenders for Euro 2012.

"I firmly believe we can do very well," he said. "Rooney's red card throws new light on our prospects because of his impending suspension.

"He showed in the first half what a performer he can be for us. I said it's a case of who plays up alongside him but now for the group stage that may not be an option, but when I look around Europe, I firmly believe that only Spain is better than England.

"I have repeatedly tipped England to win something with this crop of players. Some of the boys are getting on like Ashley Cole but it's not too late for them to win a major trophy."

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