Ferguson explains Rooney decision


ANFIELD — Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson left striker Wayne Rooney out of his starting line-up for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool because the England international was “devastated” about his three-match Euro 2012 ban.

Rooney, who came on for the last 20 minutes at Anfield, was handed the suspension by Uefa on Thursday following his sending off in England’s game against Montenegro last week. It rules him out of the group stage of next year’s continental tournament.

“Wayne has had a bad week,” Ferguson told Sky Sports. “He’s devastated with the suspension. I must say that.

“When you think about it, he could quite feasibly miss the European Championship because it’s never certain you’ll qualify from a group.
“It’s been a bad week for him, really. I felt with these circumstances that he’s better off starting from the bench.”

Rooney made little impact when he came on just after Liverpool had taken a 68th-minute lead through a Steven Gerrard free kick.

United snatched a point when fellow substitute and usual strike partner Javier Hernandez headed in from a Nani corner nine minutes from time.

Rooney’s name received the biggest boos from the home crowd when the substitutes were read out and when he warmed up, as he not only plays for arch rivals United but is also a former player and fan of Everton, Liverpool’s city rivals.

“He can handle that (the crowd),” Ferguson said. “He’s such a determined, brave lad. That wouldn’t be a bother for Wayne at all.

“I just felt that . . . putting out a team that’s at the most confident was the important thing, and Wayne’s had a bad blow this week with suspension.”

Rooney is the Premier League’s top scorer so far this season with nine goals.