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Rooney discusses red card: Everyone knows what I was trying to do

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was speaking ahead of England's game with San Marino.

Having missed Manchester United's win over Everton last weekend through suspension, Wayne Rooney has found himself discussing the reason for that absence in the England press conference ahead of the game with San Marino. 

The red against West Ham was the sixth of the Englishman's career, and first since he kicked out at a Montenegrin opponent in a European Championship qualifier in 2011.

This season Rooney has taken over the captaincy for both club and country, with many talking of his increased maturity and ability to lead by example as key reasons for such a role, but this has led to heightened interest in his dismissal for a cynical foul on former England teammate Steward Downing.

Rooney himself was eager to play down the incident, while also admitting that what he did was wrong.

"I was disappointed to receive the red card. I said afterwards everyone in football understands what I was trying to do and I just mis-timed it.

"It wasn't the same as red cards I've got in the past for lashing out. I tried to stop a counter attack and misjudged it."

His comments were at odds with what former United player and assistant Phil Neville said after the sending off, with the ex England defender telling BBC's Match of the Day: "When Rooney made the foul, I thought United must have been in trouble at the back.

"But they were four against two and all the defenders were in good positions. It's just a reckless tackle. There's no need to make the foul because of the position the United defenders were in."

United boss Louis van Gaal defended the actions of Rooney at the time, saying "it was the right thing to do" as West Ham sought to break.

Rooney will probably not be expecting to have to make such a desperate challenge during the upcoming England games against San Marino and Estonia.

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