Fabio Capello has warned Wayne Rooney that he may have put his Euro 2012 dreams at risk with his red card in Montenegro.
Capello’s immediate reaction to the sixth red card of Rooney’s career was to express continued trust in the 25-year-old, even though dismissal came just 24 hours after he was explicitly asked if he was in the correct frame of mind to play following his father’s arrest over an alleged betting scam.
The Italian also pointed out Rooney remains part of his plans and will be part of his squad in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
However, there was a nasty sting in the tail of Capello’s words. It may be incomprehensible to some, bit it was there. In lashing out at Miodrag Dzudovic, Rooney might just have booted himself out of the EuroChampionships.
“I need to find the solution for the two games Rooney will not play” said Capello.
“And if we find that solution, he needs to work to return to the first 11. I try to select players in the best moment of form.
“There were two I did not select for this game who are doing well. Jermain Defoe played really well against Arsenal. Daniel Sturridge is the same.”
Did we hear that correctly? Are you really prepared to leave Rooney out?
“Yes,” replied Capello firmly. “In my life as a manager I have put on the bench a lot of players. I always decided who was the best player at that moment.”
Rooney will be missing when England take on world champions Spain at Wembley next month, and for the friendlies that follow.
“Rooney will not play against Spain. I want to test new players, a new style and different movement,” he said.
“Sometimes he will come on at half-time. But not from the start. He will not start. We need to prepare the first XI who will start in the Euros. I need to find the best solution.”