England: Banks urges Rooney to behave or face ref wrath
Gordon Banks has warned Wayne Rooney he risks wrecking England's dreams of World Cup glory if he produces a repeat of yesterday's "ridiculous" behaviour which saw him booked for insulting a referee.
The striker was booked by Jeff Selogilwe during England's final warm-up match against Platinum Stars, reportedly for swearing at the local official who indicated afterwards that he would have sent Rooney off had the fixture not been a practice match.
The episode brought back memories of Rooney's exit from the 2006 World Cup, where he was sent off an hour into England's quarter-final defeat to Portugal for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.
Banks, who was in goal when England won the World Cup in 1966, has warned that the team will pay a heavy price if Rooney fails to keep his cool during this summer's tournament.
"Imagine getting sent off for swearing at the referee! That's the most ridiculous thing ever. If that does happen in the World Cup that would be stupid. It would be really silly," Banks told Press Association Sport.
"This season he has played absolutely fantastically for Manchester United. He really has been outstanding but at the same time I thought, like a lot of people, that he had got over that, that silly 'I have to kick him or chase somebody to kick them' idea.
"It's only because it was in a friendly that they let him get away with it yesterday.
"The officials won't mess around in this competition. If he does that in the World Cup then he'll get sent off.
"If he does that in a big game when we're winning and we get knocked out then that would be an absolute disaster."
Banks believes the responsibility must fall on England manager Fabio Capello to put his arm around the 24-year-old and ensure his behaviour does not cause more problems to an England team already troubled by injury worries.
"Capello should now remind him about how well he has been playing this season, how difficult it is to mark him and to put him out of the game," said Banks.
"He has to remind him that he just has to carry on scoring goals, and not to concentrate on retaliation or anything to do with having a go at referees or linesmen."
Rio Ferdinand, ruled out of the World Cup because of a knee injury, praised his Manchester United team-mate's disciplinary record since he was dismissed during the defeat by Portugal four years ago.
The 31-year-old told BBC Radio Five Live: "I don't see Wazza (Rooney) having a problem disciplinary-wise at the World Cup at all.
"Wayne's disciplinary record has been magnificent over the last couple of years, since the incident in Germany. He's done so well to get where he is now."
Selogilwe was quoted in several newspapers as saying: "I was very disappointed in Rooney because he is my favourite player. He insulted me.
"He is a good player when you see him on the TV, but when you see him on the pitch, he just keeps on insulting the referees.
"To me it looks like Rooney insults people and fouls other players. If he insults a referee like me then he will use that vulgar language to other referees as well."
However, Ferdinand believes the South African official got off lightly, adding of Rooney: "I'm sure he's said a lot worse to other referees in Premier League games."
According to former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, Rooney is a "street fighter" and would be a prized asset for any team in the world.
McCarthy was in London today to launch Sportingbet's 'Odds Squad' for South Africa, and believes with Rooney firing on all cylinders, England can make a big impact at the World Cup.
"Rooney has a great temperament. He is fabulous and we would all want him in our teams," McCarthy said.
"You cannot play the way he does, and work as hard as he does without having that little something, that aggression, that street fighter - and I love him for it.
"Players like Rooney are competitors, when he does something which is a bit not right, people are critical of him."
Dr Misia Gervis, a senior lecturer in sports psychology at Brunel University and the psychology consultant to the England women's team, believes the key for Rooney is for him to draw upon his past experiences in order to manage his emotions.
Dr Gervis said: "I think it's about self-awareness as much as anything. That is the key. For him to look at games and go, 'I remember in this game I started to feel really frustrated but then was able to turn it around and do something different that allowed me to then manage the game'.
"He's got a wealth of experiences of where he has been able to do that. What you hope is the people around him are reminding him of that."