Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Plastic England Fans Owe Roo an Apology ; UNITED SKIPPER IS THE LATEST ENGLAND PLAYER TO BE BOOED BY HIS OWN 'SUPPORTERS' So Had Name And

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Plastic England Fans Owe Roo an Apology ; UNITED SKIPPER IS THE LATEST ENGLAND PLAYER TO BE BOOED BY HIS OWN 'SUPPORTERS' So Had Name And

Article excerpt

IT is rare Wayne Rooney warrants sympathy, but Saturday evening was an exception. After the United captain floated his weekly Hollywood pass into the crowd in the second half, a vocal faction of England supporters began to boo the captain and, in the drudgery of international week, we had another topic of discussion.

"It's that time again guys," Rio Ferdinand tweeted. "Wayne Rooney spotlight! Booing at the stadium too...come on guys, booingLiberty." England fans have the liberty to boo a player.

Since the soulless national stadium opened in 2007, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have all copped grief. It is hardly a surprise. If you are daft enough to pay to watch an England international at a stadium that decides on 'Dab Cam' (it used to be Bongo Cam) then you are daft enough to boo a player you are meant to support.

Rooney has been booed by United supporters. He was booed on his first appearance after fluttering his eyelashes at City in 2010 against Wigan and when he collected his last Premier League winner's medal in 2013. Those incidents, some United supporters would argue, were justified. Rooney did submit a transfer request six years ago and Sir Alex Ferguson's rhetoric was so powerful they believed Rooney had done so again, even though Ferguson had effectively transfer listed him.

United supporters' relationship with Rooney is ambivalent. His name is still chanted loudly at games and his recent arrival as a substitute has brought uplifting cheers. Others refused to attend his testimonial and are sickened by his entitlement and how the club have indulged him. His flirtation with City compelled a band of militants to visit his Prestbury abode to warn him against crossing the divide.

When Rooney has needed United fans' support, he has usually received it, yet that is not the case with England's fickle fans and Saturday was not the first occasion Rooney was caught up in a booing incident with the national team.

England supporters in Cape Town booed following that anodyne draw with Algeria at the 2010 World Cup and Rooney, vexed, said into a camera: "Nice to see your own fans booing you. …

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