Wayne Rooney: The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Wayne Rooney became only the second England player to have been sent off twice on Three Lions duty when he received his marching orders against Montenegro on Friday night.

The fifth red card of the 25-year-old's fledgling career, provides another example of the petulance, and unpredictable temperament, that looks as though will plague him for the rest of his days.

The result of Rooney's latest indiscipline will mean a certain suspension for England's opening game at the Euro 2012 finals, a ban that could be extended pending the outcome of a UEFA investigation.

Fabio Capello's side may not be among the favourites to win the competition anyway, but it can't be denied that England's chances of success improve immeasurably when Rooney is playing. Sadly, though, his reckless streak that refuses to disappear means they will already travel to Poland and Ukraine at a disadvantage.

For those who suggest that England would be better without the maverick striker in attendance, because Rooney and major tournaments do not always get on, the facts are there to state a pretty good case.

In Euro 2004 in Portugal he was magnificent until injury halted him, and it was a similar story two years later when a broken metatarsal in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup threatened Rooney to miss out altogether.


But after successfully nurturing the nation's prized-asset and restoring him to fitness, the reward for England's hard-work was a red card, for a stamp on Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho in a losing quarter final clash.

In South Africa last summer, he slumped to his biggest low, as an out-of-shape, and even more out-of-form Rooney became almost a passenger in the 2010 World Cup - a despondent figure, not even a shadow of the man that had initially burst onto the international scene.

This season however, Rooney has started the 2011-12 campaign in scintillating form, with nine Barclays Premier League goals already to his name.

And despite the potential off-the-field distractions after his father and uncle were arrested and bailed in connection with a 'football betting scam', there was much expectation that Rooney would help England confirm their place at Euro 2012 on a memorable night in Podgorica.

A memorable night it was, and England did qualify, but for Rooney it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Part of his magic is his unpredictability, his spontaneous nature and approach, but it must never be forgotten that for all Rooney's excitement, also comes a combustible temperament. A ferocious competitor for club and for country no doubt, but he must learn to draw a line, for his latest action could cost the nation dearly.

On occasions England cannot live with Rooney, but more worryingly, they cannot live without him either.

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Wayne Rooney

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