Rooney won't contest card that suspends him for October
Manchester Utd 2 West Ham Utd 1
Wayne Rooney has ruled out an appeal against the red card which will leave him suspended from Manchester United action for October after admitting that he had only himself to blame for the sixth sending-off of his career.
Rooney, the United captain, will miss Premier League matches with Everton, West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea after referee Lee Mason dismissed him for a crude challenge on Stewart Downing during the tense victory against West Ham United at Old Trafford.
With Louis Van Gaal's team out of the League Cup and not involved in European competition this season, the reduction in United's first-team fixtures ensures that Rooney will not be eligible for selection until the derby clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on November 2.
Despite Rooney's sending-off, which forced United to play with 10 men for almost half an hour, the home side were able to hold on to the 2-1 half-time lead secured by strikes from Rooney and Robin van Persie.
Following the challenge on Downing - described as "crazy and irresponsible" by West Ham Sam Allardyce - Rooney conceded the futility of contesting his red card.
"It was probably the right decision," Rooney said. "I saw the West Ham player making a counter-attack and I tried to break-up the play, but I just misjudged it.
"It was a dangerous situation in that they were trying to break on us and I have misjudged it, simple as that, but I have no complaints.
"I haven't absolutely volleyed the lad. I have tried to trip him up and, to be fair to him, he got further away from me and that is why my leg is straighter than it should have been. But it is a red card and I don't think it will benefit anyone to appeal against the decision."
Rooney, who apologised to his team-mates for the dismissal, admitted he was prepared for the debate which will follow over his suitability for the captaincy role for club and country.
"I expect people to say that, but I was just trying to break up the play. As a result, I am now going to miss three games and that's the most disappointing thing.
"Obviously we got away with it by getting the win, but I am really gutted I am going to be missing the next three games. It is hard to take. Of course I did [apologise to his team-mates]. I think everyone knew [I was in the wrong], so I am just grateful the lads were able to hold on."
As a player who is widely accepted to lose sharpness when not playing, Rooney admits he must take advantage of England's forthcoming fixtures against San Marino and Estonia.
"It helps that the England games are coming up, but the training here is really good," Rooney said.
"It is tough and it is getting my fitness up there, so I just have to make sure I train well and be ready for when I come back."
Prior to his dismissal, Rooney had produced his most impressive performance of the season, scoring a fifth-minute opener with a crisp half-volley from Rafael da Silva's cross.
Operating at the tip of Van Gaal's diamond formation, behind Van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Rooney linked play and displayed the vision which suggests the No. 10 role is the one which he will claim for the remainder of his career.
But after Van Persie had doubled United's lead, with a right-foot strike from Falcao's pass, Rooney's combustible demons began to resurface once Diafra Sakho had halved West Ham's deficit.
Van Gaal, nonetheless, backed his captain, insisting that he merely paid the price for committing a professional foul.
The Dutchman had a point, with United captains of old, such as Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidic, earning enough red cards while wearing the armband to put Rooney in the shade.
However, the dismissal placed his team under the cosh and they almost capitulated, with teenage debutant Paddy McNair forced to produce one crucial headed clearance before Kevin Nolan saw an 89th-minute equaliser ruled out - correctly - for offside.
United survived, displaying the good fortune that was non-existent under David Moyes, but it was no thanks to their tempestuous captain. (© The Daily Telegraph, London.)
Striker never far from controversy
Wayne Rooney's red card against West Ham at Old Trafford was the latest in a long list of controversies concerning the Manchester United and England captain.
Here we take a look back at some of the previous incidents which have damaged Rooney's reputation:
November: Substituted after 42 minutes of the Spain v England friendly in Madrid after a series of reckless fouls. He then swears at the bench and throws his armband - worn in memory of the late Emlyn Hughes - to the floor.
September 7: Clashes with Keith Gillespie during England's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast, before swearing at David Beckham and pushing Rio Ferdinand.
September 14: Sent off for sarcastically applauding the referee after being booked for unintentionally fouling an opponent during Manchester United's Champions League game against Villarreal.
July 1: Sent off in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal after appearing to stamp on the groin of Ricardo Carvalho and then push his Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
August 4: Sent off in an Amsterdam Tournament match against Porto after hitting defender Pepe with an elbow. Punished with a three-match ban by the FA.
October: Kisses the United badge during a volatile return to former club Everton. Is booked and then substituted by Alex Ferguson.
March: Throws the ball away to earn a second booking as United crash 2-0 at Fulham. Unleashes a volley of abuse at referee Phil Dowd before taking a swing at the corner flag as he leaves the pitch.
June 7: In England's final World Cup warm-up game against Platinum Stars, is accused of swearing at the referee. He apologises after the game and offers the official his shirt.
June 18: Says ''nice to see your home fans boo you'' to TV cameras after England's disappointing goalless draw with Algeria in the World Cup.
April 4: Swears into a television camera following the completion of his hat-trick during United's 4-2 win at West Ham. Charged by the FA with ''use of offensive, insulting and/or abusive language'' and misses the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City.
October 7: With England 2-1 ahead in Montenegro, needlessly hacks at Miodrag Dzudovic and is shown a red card, becoming only the second England player - after Beckham - to be sent off twice.
May: Left out of the squad for Alex Ferguson's final game at Old Trafford after handing in a transfer request. Ferguson reveals: "I don't think Wayne was keen to play, simply because he's asked for a transfer."
September: Sent off during Manchester United's 2-1 win over West Ham at Old Trafford after needlessly hacking down Stewart Downing.