McClaren: Rooney is a winner

May 30, 2008

Former England manager Steve McClaren does not feel Wayne Rooney should curb his aggression on the pitch because he is 'a winner'.

Fabio Capello, who took over from McClaren, has revealed he will speak with the Manchester United forward to address his attitude after a number of incidents against the USA on Wednesday.

Rooney, 22, was sent off during the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho.

But McClaren told Sky Sports News: 'He's a winner, Wayne Rooney. Sometimes, because he is a winner, you step over the mark.

'That comes with maturity, that comes with experience. He's got a great character and temperament and let's not lose the Wayne Rooney that goes round and is a winner.'

McClaren has also backed John Terry to regain the England captaincy when Capello decides on his permanent skipper prior to the 2010 World Cup qualifiers this autumn.

The Chelsea captain was given the armband by McClaren, and the former Middlesbrough boss praised the way Terry has bounced back after missing a crucial penalty in the Blues' Champions League final defeat by Manchester United.

The 27-year-old captained England against the USA after being overlooked by Capello for the friendly in France and scored the first goal in a 2-0 win.

'Everybody knows my thoughts on it, which is why I picked John Terry as captain,' McClaren said. 'You've got to admire the man - his courage, his determination and his character - to come back from what must have been a huge disappointment.

'I think that must have been the only down point of the Champions League final was somebody had to lose it the way they lost it and John Terry ultimately was the one who suffered the most.

'But he's come back, played ever so well and scored a goal. Time will heal, performances like that will certainly help.'

England have travelled to the Caribbean ahead of their meeting with Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, and there has been criticism of the trip at the end of a long season.

But McClaren feels the chance for Capello to spend time with his players makes the match worthwhile.

'Getting the players together over 10-14 days is invaluable, you don't get that during the season,' he added.

'You only get them for one day, two days maximum, and it's very difficult to bond and get over your ideas. Whatever the games are, as long as the squad is together, you will get benefit from that.'