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Friday, September 16, 2005

English referees would have ignored Rooney petulance

Kim Milton Nielsen is a strict referee. When I've seen him ref games he belongs to the no-nonsense school. You won’t see smiles and banter a'la Graeme Poll.

So when Wayne Rooney lost his cool on Wednesday against Villarreal and berated Kim Milton Nielsen with a sarcastic clap of the hands there was no surprise that the Danish ref would take exception. His eyes opened wide, incredulous at the disrespect, and then proceeded towards Rooney to give him another yellow card followed by the red.

This is good refereeing. Some footballers think they are the boss of the pitch just because they have a big salary and some endorsement deals. Rooney is a magnificent talent but he has no medals to his name and a lot of maturity to develop. It's right that Milton-Nielsen taught him some humility.

Last year in Spain, Rooney seriously lost his cool in an international friendly. He nearly caused serious injury to Casillas by pushing him into the fans enclosure. He then committed a reckless tackle and received his second yellow. What happened next was shameful- he tore off the black armband commemorating Emlyn Hughes. I can't believe he knew what he was doing at that instance, and I'm sure he regrets that act. Yet it underlines his disciplinary problem.

Then came the infamous foul-mouthed tirade against Graeme Poll at Highbury after receiving a booking. If Milton-Nielsen was on the end of that you can bet Rooney would have been sent off the pitch. But Poll stood there, took it on the chin with a smile, and let Rooney off the hook. From a football point of view it is always best to have 11 against 11. However, the spirit of the game was let down by Poll's leniency and Rooney was not taught a vital lesson. I've seen Rooney launch a similar full-on tirade against Dermot Gallacher and again no disciplinary action was taken.

I'm happy that Rooney's behaviour was not tolerated by Milton-Nielsen. Because of this decision I'm sure Rooney will be more circumspect in future. It highlighted to him that his insulting behaviour can let his team and the fans down. I hope English ref's remember this precedent.


T.

6 Comments:

Blogger RedsMan said...

This is an issue that touches on my previous article on officials' discretion. Rooney on Wednesday night was the clear exception. A Premiership ref may have ignored the gesture, but an English ref particularly in an UEFA game may not. I cant help but believe referees in UEFA and FIFA matches look to demonstrate tip-top officiation to endorse their affiliation. Otherwise you have the usual media frenzy over a decision considered wrong.

I am behind Milton Neilsen, certainly the rules are there to enforce and the ref has shown that he wants a game that is competitive with as much reduction on any petulance, malice or recklessness as possible. For the actual contact on Alvarez, perhaps a stern word would have sufficed, but Rooney went on to emphasise the need for the initial booking with his conduct after.

To digress slightly, Vieira was booked for blocking a player, which on replay seemed very harsh, as Vieira could not get out of the way and seemed not to be entirely in the way of the other player anyway. At the time, the ref indicated to Vieira that this contact was one of three Vieira had illegally made. Vieira later on deliberately blocked a player again, booked and was sent off. Perhaps the ref's view of the initial contact that led to the first booking may have been an obscured one, with Vieira's back to him, no doubting the second.

Van Persie showed clearly not to have formed any intent, reckless or otherwise, to raise his foot to the Thun player, as his eye was on the ball from when it was in the air until it came down. It was an unfortunate contact and warranted a booking for being careless, rather than reckless. But the ref seemed so agitated in giving the card that he sent him off, and then put his hand on Van Persie to push him off towards the exit.

Both of these sendings should have had more of the discretion I mentioned in my previous article. But when you have an established referee as Milton Neilsen and Collina, you have to play well within their boundaries. One may have more discretion than the other, but both have established that their officiation of games have a standard that few can argue with.

Collina has patience, rapport and some discretion, though with the Everton fans they find he also has a need for early retirement. Milton Neilsen is, as T. described above, a bureaucrat who categorically dots his 'i's and cross his 't's.

The Man Utd players may feel Rooney's first yellow was harsh, but can have no arguments about the second.


RedsMan.

9/16/2005 3:00 pm

 
Blogger SKG said...

it's going to be interesting to see how rooney handles the atmosphere at anfield this sunday. it may bring out the best or the worst in him.

9/16/2005 6:58 pm

 
Blogger Berry said...

I didn’t see the Rooney or Van Persie sending off but managers and fans have to accept certain characteristics of their players and that any bad behavior will not be tolerated by the referee. If he can learn from the sending off, great. If not, you just have to take the good with the bad. After all that’s what got Rooney EFT player of the month.

9/18/2005 10:00 am

 
Blogger Abdul said...

As with anything, if you are more detached from a scenario you will be able to look at things more objectively. This is why I agree with T that in European competetion football, referees apply the laws of the game better than in domestic football and look less at reputations and more at actions.

But I would also add that in the Champions League nit only do we have the best clubs playing in the competition - we also have the best referees. This enivtably means that the refereeing will better than in domestic football.

9/19/2005 3:31 pm

 
Blogger Skippy said...

Rooney is such a talented player, no question. He does react badly at times, but that is part of his game, which will change over time. Stevie G used be hot-headed, he now more mature, the same can be said of Roy Keane.

9/20/2005 10:48 am

 
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12/14/2005 10:14 pm

 

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