EPL: Don't whine, just win

CARDIFF 2

(Fraizer Campbell 33, Kim Bo Kyung 90)

MAN UNITED 2

(Wayne Rooney 15, Patrice Evra 45)

Wayne Rooney has turned into a dastardly Disney villain.

Had his Twitter outburst been any more cartoonish, he would've twirled his twirling moustache and laughed like the Count on Sesame Street.

On Monday, he criticised the most benign of football creatures - respected commentator Martin Tyler.

Attacking Tyler is like shooting Bambi. But Rooney couldn't help himself. He rarely can. When he scores, he reigns. When he tweets, he whines.

He speaks out to put down. He tweets in a foul temper. His words are often tools of revenge.

Cuddly commentator Tyler risked Rooney's wrath by referring to the Manchester United forward's attempt to chop Cardiff 's Jordon Mutch in half as a "bad tackle".

Tyler was echoing the sentiments of a global TV audience and merely saying it how he saw it, which is pretty much the job description of a competent sports commentator.

Mutch and Rooney were tussling for the ball when the United man booted the midfielder in the back of the knee.

FRUSTRATION

Not for the first time in his career, Rooney had expressed his frustration at not getting his own way by lashing out.

In such situations, the kid from the Liverpool council estate is betrayed by the inner street-footballer.

Rooney escaped red. He was lucky.

The only appropriate response was to slink away into the shadows and make no further mention of the incident, or the fact that the referee's generosity made it possible for Rooney to score United's opener just moments later. But Rooney doesn't beat hasty retreats.

He charges down criticism. He feeds on public abuse.

His arrogant disregard for the vitriol pouring down the Cardiff terraces each time he took a corner was rather admirable.

He doesn't hide. He thrives on anger. He leeches the aggression from the crowd and makes it his own.

That's Rooney at his best; a born warrior. His ill-judged Twitter rant was Rooney at his worst; a born whinger.

Referring to the Mutch kick, he tweeted: "I agree mine was bad tackle and ref dealt with it. And Martin Tyler didn't shut up about it all game."

Well, to reiterate an earlier, obvious point, Tyler was the match commentator. If he doesn't discuss the game's talking points, he doesn't get paid.

Rooney also took umbrage at Graeme Souness' criticisms, after the pundit claimed the striker had an "exploding head".

Apart from coming with a descriptive gem that's practically poetic, Souness was only voicing the thoughts of the (non-United) global TV audience.

Rooney's kick was late, unnecessary, puerile and belligerent.

A photo of the incident could be used in a referee's manual under the heading "standard red card offences".

Of course, Rooney's opinion is no less valid than that of either Souness or Tyler. He's entitled to a right of reply.

If nothing else, his honest outrage contrasts sharply with the silly soundbites that the modern sportsperson usually throws up in post-match interviews.

But his outburst hints strongly at a character flaw that suggests a move away from Old Trafford might still be on the cards at some point.

Rooney has to get his own way. And he's extremely sensitive to criticism. United have moved heaven and earth to accommodate his every whim and it never seems to be quite enough.

The Red Devils fail to make enough signings to satisfy his personal ambition, he demands a transfer.

His form tails off following the arrival of Robin van Persie, he expects regular selection no matter how patchy his performance.

He gets benched until he rediscovers his consistency, so he tries to manipulate a move to Chelsea.

He loses possession, so he introduces his studs to the back of an opponent's legs. His foul is criticised, so he lashes out in 140 characters.

The whining gets wearying because he has very little to complain about now.

Had Sir Alex Ferguson succumbed to Rooney's ludicrous demands and bought players as his striker says so, he might have signed Mesut Oezil - his preferred target at the time.

They play in the same position. Even the most devoted of Rooney apologists would concede that Oezil offers legitimate competition for the No. 10 jersey.

But Rooney owns the role at Old Trafford.

David Moyes' transitional squad are tip-toeing towards the top four and their England striker is delivering on the domestic and international stages.

And yet, he can still react like a disturbed stray dog, biting back at any feedback deemed less than complimentary.

United can ill afford an "exploding head" in the camp right now. They want a wise head on a 28-year-old's shoulders.

Rooney is only at his focused best when he does his talking on the pitch - not on Twitter.


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