Rooney: Ban doesn't seem right
Twelve hours after he revelled in his matchwinning effort in Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Rooney discovered there had been no leniency shown by the FA for his foul-mouthed outburst at Upton Park on Saturday. It is not so much confirmation Rooney was wrong that has irritated the 25-year-old. In issuing a public apology so soon after the final whistle and being the father of a young child himself, Rooney understands the general vitriol. What he cannot fathom is why previous instances of public swearing have gone unpunished whilst he must now miss two matches, one of which is the eagerly-anticipated FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City at Wembley on April 16. "I am not the first player to have sworn on TV and I won't be the last," he argued. "Unlike others who have been caught swearing on camera, I apologised immediately. And yet I am the only person banned for swearing. That doesn't seem right." It is a view shared inside Old Trafford, where a feeling of being harshly treated has only been strengthened since Sir Alex Ferguson was handed a five-match touchline ban for his attack on referee Martin Atkinson following United's previous visit to Stamford Bridge at the beginning of last month. "Manchester United is clearly very disappointed with the decision," said a statement issued by the Old Trafford outfit. "The club put forward a very strong case to have the punishment reduced, which was unsuccessful." United would expect to make light of the absence of their talisman and manager from their normal roles on Saturday, when they entertain a Fulham outfit just about avoiding getting dragged into a Premier League relegation scrap. The City clash is a different matter entirely. Rooney's stunning overhead kick settled the last derby confrontation in February and it was also the England striker who scored the last-minute winner that sent United to Wembley in the Carling Cup final last term. Amongst the blue half of Manchester there will be understandable relief. It is doubtful many City fans will share the opinion of manager Roberto Mancini, who claimed he would prefer Rooney to play. "I am disappointed because when we play a game like this it is important all the best players play," he said. Mancini has never been convinced of the need for English football to clean up its act, as Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore indicated he wanted to do last week. The City boss has a wider view of behaviour than just this country and he believes, in an ultra competitive environment, England is better than most. "Should the FA punish players in this way? I do not know," he said. "I think the managers and players here have a lot of respect for the referee and the FA." So, Rooney will not be available domestically again until April 19, when United head to Newcastle. "I am gutted to miss two matches, one of which is an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley," he said. "Whatever, I have to accept that what's happened has happened and move on from here. That is what I intend to do." Sources close to Rooney have rejected out of hand the suggestion the player may need to undergo counselling sessions to sort out anger problems. Indeed, one man who knows the forward well, having worked with him as coach and manager with England, Steve McClaren, feels there is no point even trying to tame him. "I remember once trying to do that with Roy Keane. I said 'Look, you are missing five or six games through suspension every season, calm down a little'," he told talkSPORT. "He did for six months and it was hopeless. [We said] 'Get back to normal, we'll miss you for five or six games'. "It's similar with Wayne Rooney. You've got to accept the rough with the smooth." To an extent, Fulham boss Mark Hughes feels exactly the same way. "A little bit of devilment and aggression can actually help you, I certainly used that to my benefit when I was a player," said the Welshman. "Sometimes if you take that away, they are not the players they should be. "Wayne sees players swearing on camera every week but he has a different position in the game than most players in this country. "Everything he does is magnified and creates more ripples than other players of lesser standing." And as the first man to face a Rooney-less United, Hughes is definitely not in agreement with his successor at City boss. "I am obviously pleased, because I thought he was outstanding last night," he said. "If Rooney is not available, that is a positive from our point of view."