Wayne Rooney was sent off for the sixth time in his career in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the United captain dismissed for kicking out at Stewart Downing.
Ultimately the sending off didn’t cost his side three points, but that hasn’t always been the case throughout Rooney’s sometimes blemished career.
Here, we remember those six career red cards:
1. Birmingham 1 Everton 1, December 26th 2002
Wayne’s first career red card came on Boxing Day almost 12 years ago as, then a 17-year-old Everton youngster, he was sent off just 10 minutes after coming on for the Blues for a reckless challenge on defender Steve Vickers.
David Moyes attempted to defend the teenager post-match by claiming that he should only have received a yellow, but referee David Elleray (remember him?) had no hesitation issuing red.
2. Villarreal 0 Man Utd 0, September 14th 2005
Rooney’s first Manchester United red card came almost three years later in the Champions League, when his sarcastic reaction to being booked by referee Kim Milton Nielsen saw him immediately issued with a second booking.
That’ll teach him, right?
3. England 0 Portugal 0 (Portugal win 3-1 on penalties), July 1st 2006
Surely Rooney’s most damaging red card, as his sending off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho played a large role in England being eliminated from the 2006 World Cup.
The look on Rooney’s face as he saw his United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo attempt to get him sent off told a thousand words. Yes, Ronaldo was out of order but maybe stamping on someone in the first place was asking for trouble?
4. Fulham 2 Man Utd 0, March 21st 2009
United’s title challenge was somewhat faltering when they went to Fulham in March 2009, and even more so when Paul Scholes was sent off for handling on the line early on.
Danny Murphy and Zoltan Gera scored the goals to put Fulham ahead, and that proved all too much for Rooney, who hurled the ball away after taking a free-kick from the wrong place to pick up his second booking.
5. Montenegro 2 England 2, October 7th 2011
England were cruising towards the Euro 2012 finals thanks to goals from Ashley Young and Darren Bent in Podgorica, but after Montenegro pulled one back the nerves began to show, in Rooney more than anyone.
The forward inexplicably kicked out at defender Miodrag Dzudovic to earn a straight red card, picking up a three-match ban from the finals once England qualified with a draw, although this was later reduced to two.
6. Man Utd 2 West Ham 1, September 27th 2014
Three years then passed before Rooney’s next red against West Ham this weekend, when his ridiculous decision to kick Downing was only emphasised by the fact that his side were leading 2-1 and he was wearing the captain’s armband.
Will he learn from it? We’ll wait and see, but after an improved disciplinary record in recent years this was an unwelcome return to previous ways.
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