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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

‘I will kill you...’ - Former England coach reveals shocking row with Alex Ferguson over injured Wayne Rooney

The then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson rushed Rooney back into the fitness and included him in England’s 23-member squad.

football Updated: Oct 14, 2019 14:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File photo of Sir Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney.
File photo of Sir Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney.(Reuters)
         

There was a time when Manchester United was one of the most dominant clubs in England, with forward Wayne Rooney as one of the most lethal strikers. Sir Alex Ferguson, the then Manchester United manager, regarded the England star as a crucial member in the team. But in 2006, shortly before the World Cup tournament in Germany, the striker fractured his metatarsal bone which threatened his participation in football’s biggest international tournament.

The then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson rushed Rooney back into the fitness and included him in England’s 23-member squad. As a result of his inclusion, Ferguson, who was concerned that Rooney would aggravate his injury, and might miss out a few games in the next season for Manchester United, had a heated argument with the England coach.

 

Erikkson, speaking to The Times, revealed what was said between the two managers during the heated phone call.

“With Alex, the amazing thing was (he does not care if) it was seven o’clock in the morning or earlier. Always. When he was angry. And (he would) never (say) ‘Hello Sven, how are you?’ It was ‘whuurssshhhh’ [straight into yelling]. I thought he should (sic) kill me. He said, ‘I will kill you. You are finished.’ But I represented England and you have to stand up.

“What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong and when you say ‘Don’t pick Rooney because I’m going to kill you’ . . . I said, “F*** off, what’s going on with you?’

“And he was screaming. Whenever he got like that... it has no meaning. That’s why I was, ‘Alex, I will pick Rooney. Now, have a nice holiday. Ciao, bye.’”

The 2006 World Cup, though, turned out to be a flop for Rooney, in which he did not manage to score a single goal. He even received a red card in the quarterfinal against Portugal, which the Three Lions lost 3-1 to bow out of the competition.