Wayne Rooney is already seeing an anger-management expert and the Professional Footballers’ Association last night told Manchester United that other options are available to the combustible forward, including “lifestyle coaching” at Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance clinic. Joey Barton, a serial offender at Manchester City, has already benefited from professional counselling and the PFA believes Rooney could improve with external help.
“[He has] great talent and you don’t want to see it wasted for the sake of poor temperament,” said Gordon Taylor, the PFA’s chief executive. “There is a much broader use of counselling and psychology among footballers these days, particularly for those who find themselves in difficult situations on and off the field. Clinics such as Sporting Chance can help.”
Rooney can certainly use Barton as a prime example of someone for whom specialised help has worked, although it will not be easy to convince Sir Alex Ferguson that one of his players could spend worthwhile time in a centre set up to treat players suffering from depression, alcoholism and other addictions.The indications are that Ferguson and his colleagues have decided they have sufficient experience of handling volatile players to deal with Rooney in-house.
That process began with United’s manager angrily remonstrating with the teenager in the dressing-room after Wednesday’s game at Villarreal and it continued yesterday when the club fined him a fortnight’s wages for the red card he was shown after he had sarcastically applauded the referee Kim Milton Nielsen for booking him.