Those who enjoy Wayne Rooney’s stampeding runs and old-fashioned shoulder barges should not fear, at least if David Moyes has his way.
Despite calls for Rooney to tone down his aggression after a fortunate yellow at Cardiff on Sunday, the Manchester United manager said he won’t be telling his star to tone it down.
“I would rather have a Wayne Rooney that way than any other way,” Moyes said ahead of United’s UEFA Champions League tilt at Bayer Leverkusen, where Steve Davis reports the club had a eerie flight disturbance en route to Cologne.
Rooney received his fourth yellow card of the Premier League campaign after recklessly kicking Jordon Mutch on the back of his left leg on Sunday. It was a foul that had some, including Alan Shearer, calling for a straight red card.
“I don’t want him to be kicking at anybody but I want him to keep being aggressive,” Moyes said. “I want him to keep challenging and running.”
Rooney has not been sent off for country since a 2011 red card in Montenegro and his last Manchester United red card came after a pair of yellows in March 2009. Yet his yellows have been on the rise with 11 in just 32 Premier League appearances since the start of the 2012/13 season. This after posting a career-low three during 50 appearances for club and country in 2011/12.
“I want Wayne to have fire in his belly, he plays better when he is tough and aggressive,” Moyes said. “I don’t want to change Wayne Rooney that’s for sure.
For his part, Rooney took to Twitter earlier in the week to admit the kick at Mutch was not a good one.
“Just watched game back. I agree mine was bad tackle and ref dealt with it,” he Tweeted.
The tackle and subsequent kick were anything but pretty and the kick was not much different from the one at Miodrag Dzudovic that earned him the red versus Montenegro. Rooney can count his blessings for not being dismissed and, whether Moyes admits it publicly or not, the Red Devil will have to monitor himself closely; His four yellows are tied with a host of players for second-most in the Premier League and it wasn’t that long ago that double-digit yellows and annual reds were commonplace for the lad from Liverpool.