Woodward: Rooney not iconic

06 April 2011 05:00

Wayne Rooney's status in world sport has been called into question by Sir Clive Woodward.

The ex-England rugby coach, who is now director of sport at the British Olympic Association, said Rooney had yet to reach the heights of football. Rooney was also criticised for his X-rated TV outburst by former hurdling legend Ed Moses at the SportAccord conference in London.

Woodward said: "Is Wayne Rooney an iconic figure? In my view at the moment no. Iconic figures are people who really delivered at international level."

He added: "I remember John McEnroe was angry on the tennis court but successful. Football at the top level is the World Cup - people like Pele and Maradona are the iconic figures of football. These people may have had chequered backgrounds but you remembered them."

Moses said the Manchester United striker had committed a bad error.

He said: "Rooney's behaviour has been very uncool - to say the least, especially among the young kids who are being induced to buy [merchandise].

"Children will see it and say 'if he can do it I can do it too' and behave like that towards parents and teachers."

Woodward also warned British athletes at the 2012 Games not to be distracted by penning newspaper columns.

He said: "My big take on this is that I don't think you can become a celebrity unless you absolutely deliver on the field of play, the track or in the pool. When I was a coach, I was massive on this. Newspaper columns have to be a distraction.

"(It's) when you see someone with huge talent but trying to fast-track themselves into a high-profile celebrity position without delivering on the pitch. It's easy to spot and can come crashing down very quickly."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0