2010 FIFA World Cup: The Dark Side of Wayne Rooney

Ed Wyman@@edwymanCorrespondent IJune 7, 2010

MORULENG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 07: Wayne Rooney is congratulated by James Milner after scoring to make it 3-0 during the England v Platinum Stars Friendly match at the Moruleng Stadium on June 7, 2010 in Moruleng, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney is England's main man.

He has said that if he comes away from the World Cup as the greatest player in the world, he'll be happy as England will have won the World Cup.

He's right.

If Wayne Rooney can perform like he has this season for Manchester United, England will be able to do great things.

He is capable of lifting the whole team's spirit and pushing them to greater success.

Rooney has 25 goals for England in 60 appearances and creates plenty of chances for himself. He is integral to the side.

However, there is a darker side to Wayne Rooney. He is renowned for having a bit of a temper. 

Famously during the last World Cup, Rooney was sent off.

He stamped on Ricardo Carvalho whilst they were both trying to win the ball. He then shoved Ronaldo, a club team mate on Man U, before being sent off.

England would go on to lose the penalty shoot out.

This wasn't an isolated incident.

Rooney has been booked 84 times in his career and been sent off 4 times.

A lot of this is due to his combative style of play. He is a hard worker who tries to win the ball back if he loses it (as can be seen in the NIKE advert).

However, he is a player who you can often see looking for a fight.

He is sometimes guilty of tackles from behind after losing the ball, a high arm or a trailing leg.

He also gets himself into trouble by being petulant.

He has been sent off for clapping the referee, booked for not giving the ball back for a free kick and barely avoided being sent off for elbowing an opponent in the face.

Recently, Wayne seems to have cooled off.

Last season he wasn't sent off and was booked just 8 times. The previous season he was booked 13 times and sent off once.

However, this evening in a warm up game against the Platinum Stars, a South African domestic team, Rooney put in two big tackles before being booked for dissent. 

He was promptly given a lecture by English coach Stuart Pearce.

Is this a return to his old ways which forced Sven Goran-Eriksson to sub Rooney off before he got himself sent off?

Or is it just a one-time freak out?

Hopefully Rooney has got the less desirable side of his game out of the way before the World Cup starts.

England can't afford to have anything but the best from Wayne Rooney during this tournament.