Lescott backs Rooney to keep his cool

25 March 2013 10:17

Joleon Lescott has warned Montenegro that winding Wayne Rooney up over his 2011 red card in Podgorica would be a foolish thing to do.

Rooney returns to the scene of perhaps his maddest moment in an eventful career in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier. The England striker, frustrated at being unable to take the ball off Miodrag Dzudovic during a European Championship qualifier, lashed out at the Montenegrin with a petulant kick to the calf that earned him a three-match ban, which was reduced to two on appeal.

"We're all old enough to realise that there will be issues there, they'll try to wind us up, waste time and stuff like that, but I like to think we're all mature enough to deal with that and it could enhance (Rooney's) performance," Lescott said.

"There could be a backlash. On his day, Wayne is one of the best in the world so I doubt they will try to enhance his performance."

Rooney's stamp on Ricardo Carvalho effectively cost England their place in the 2006 World Cup while other off-the-field issues have marred the player widely regarded as the most talented of his generation.

Lescott thinks the days where red mist would descend over Rooney's eyes are over now, though.

"I've never tried to wind up Wayne," said the Manchester City defender. "Maybe when he was a bit younger, when he had a bit more of a temper in him (I would have). But he's older, more mature and is experienced in every situation now.

"There will be a lot of expectation on Wayne but knowing him I don't think he will let that faze him in any way.

"I don't think he will drawing on any negativity from previous performances. He will just be focused on producing the goods."

England boss Roy Hodgson's inclusion of Rooney in his squad is a clear message that he trusts the 27-year-old to not lose his rag again on Tuesday night, when England will be hoping to get three points to put them top of Group H.

Source: PA