Date: 13th December 2006 at 6:19pm
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Wayne Rooney has called for more protection from the referees. The 21-year-old striker thinks refs feel unnecessary to act in his defence as he’s more than capable of looking after himself.

‘For some reason refs think I should be able to protect myself without their help,’ he said.

‘I’ve had some bad tackles on me but I’ll get up where other players will roll around. So the refs think there’s nothing wrong with me.’

Well, he feels the kicks but I must stress I’m happy with referees this season. Their major mistakes were finely balanced: our dubious Riverside penalty cancelled out the spot-kick awarded for Reading in September. Otherwise, I felt they were fair.

‘I just want to play football and sometimes I get angry and sometimes I don’t,’ Rooney added.

‘I just try to hold myself back and think for a minute, then react after that. I think I’m getting better and I’m learning how to take a deep breath. I try not to get involved because I know if I do get frustrated it can affect my performance.’

Is it a promise, Wayne? More protection from refs, more self-control? Not bad but even without the help of referees, he’s starting to behave myself without letting his performances to drop. That was my greatest fear about Rooney: he could curb his temper but would that benefit his football? I hope the answer is yes.