Capello defends Rooney decision

BY foxsports • October 8, 2011

Fabio Capello has defended his decision to pick Wayne Rooney Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro.

The England coach spoke to the Manchester United striker in the wake of the arrest of his father and uncle over a match-fixing probe and Rooney assured him he was fine.

Capello went ahead and selected the 25-year-old, only for the move to backfire spectacularly as Rooney was sent off 17 minutes from the end of a 2-2 draw that was enough to seal a place in next summer's Finals.

Rooney will now be suspended for the first of those matches, and possibly more depending on whether UEFA impose an additional punishment.

But Capello still thought he was correct.

"It was not a mistake," he said.

"He kicked the opponent. Now he will not be able to play the first game in the Euros as he will be suspended.

"He was not happy because he missed some control and some passes. For this reason, I think he reacted. His reaction was to kick the opponent."

It was a remarkable action, for which Capello had no explanation.

"I can't enter into the head of Wayne Rooney when he plays," said Capello.

"I can speak before. I can substitute him. I can find different solutions. But you cannot understand during the game, why things happen. And I don't mean just Rooney."

The striker saw red for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic. And he admitted afterwards he had been wrong.

"He made a silly mistake and said: 'Yes, sorry'," said Capello.

"It's a red card. You can't defend that.

"He's a really important player with a lot of experience, and he's played really important games.

"But he has made a silly mistake. I have seen players like him do that. You can't understand why."

The contrast of the start and endings of the game could not have been more marked.

Ashley Young nodded home Theo Walcott's cross to put the visitors ahead before Young teed up Darren Bent for his fourth goal in five games.

The contest turned when Elsad Zverotic pulled one back with the final kick of the opening period, with Andrija Delibasic netting at the death to send Montenegro into the play-offs.

"I am really happy," said Capello.

"I said that to the players after the game because our goal was to qualify.

"We are first in the table. This is the most important thing."

However, the spectre of Rooney's actions will linger, with his punishment due to be announced prior to a planned Wembley friendly against Spain at Wembley on Saturday, November 12.

"I am not happy," said Capello.

"I spoke with him. More than that, I can't do.

"We will find a solution to play without him. We will try something in the next games, the friendlies that we play, to prepare for the future."

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