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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wayne Rooney row: Ian Wright says Alex Ferguson has played it perfectly

Not for the first time, at a crucial part of the season, the Manchester United manager has given a key player an almighty boot up the a**e.

I reckon Wayne Rooney will now bounce back with at least a goal against Newcastle in the Premier League tomorrow night before scoring again to help knock Manchester City out of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Despite not actually breaking a curfew, Fergie is clearly unhappy Rooney went out at night and then trained badly the next day.

This episode involving three United players ? Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson were also there ? was clearly unacceptable for Fergie and true to form, he has acted swiftly.

What the Old Trafford manager has done is send a clear message out to the team, particularly the younger lads, in terms of the standards that have to be met.

We have seen many times before, most notably with Roy Keane and David Beckham, that Ferguson is afraid of absolutely no one.

You could argue that in terms of the team, the decision to drop Rooney did not work as a depleted United still lost 3-2 at home to Blackburn.

But I think for Rooney, it will make a difference and he will return more focused.

In the past, Rooney has always done well in pressurised situations and I expect him to play well over the next few weeks.

Yet to deliver for United you need to be bang on form.

To perform at your very highest level, you have to train well ? and it was Fergie's view that this wasn't the case for Rooney on that specific day.

This incident is yet another example that the modern player has to be so careful when socialising.

Ferguson seems to have eyes and ears all over the North West and if a player dines out ? even if he behaves himself ? then Ferguson will know about it.

If you are unconvincing in training the next day, then you have had it.

George Graham was very similar when I was at Arsenal.

Say I went out with Tony Adams and Kevin Campbell, the manager would even have known which drinks we'd ordered let alone our actual location.

While some people like seeing a famous footballer out during the evening, there'll always be one or two people who will get the hump. They are the people players have to worry about.

It seems the contract dispute between Rooney and Ferguson was a far bigger problem than this latest issue.

Equally, though, Rooney has to remind himself that when a player takes on Ferguson ? as we have seen in the past ? there will only be one winner.

And it won't be the player.

Ferguson has other problems, though, as Saturday's shock defeat proved.

The goalkeeping situation is a weird one as Anders Lindergaard has played seven times for United this term and incredibly, has managed six clean sheets. That is some record for any keeper.

Meanwhile, David de Gea is having a few problems yet Fergie knows if he drops the player now, it could completely destroy his confidence.This is why the clash against Newcastle is such a crucial one and United need to win.

And they will have been particularly frustrated on Sunday as they watched City lose at Sunderland ? that made the defeat to Blackburn even more painful.

Meanwhile, I want to give a special mention to Rovers manager Steve Kean.

I was delighted for him after the win at United ? although yesterday's disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Stoke will once again put him under the spotlight.

But I think the criticism he has received from the club's fans has been absolutely disgraceful.

No manager should have to put up with this and many of the Blackburn supporters have embarrassed themselves.

Yet those fans with the banners have now put themselves in a position where they cannot back down.

However, I'd like to see them show some guts and stop their protests before getting behind their team ? and the manager.

Otherwise, they could face a very long few months.

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