Wayne Rooney says no repeat of 'stupid' behaviour for England

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport
Wayne Rooney 'excited' to become England captain

Wayne Rooney insists there will never be a repeat of the behaviour that limited his Euro 2012 campaign.

The 26-year-old missed England's opening two games in the summer after being sent off in the 2-2 qualifying draw in Podgorica a year ago.

"That was a stupid thing to do. I regretted it the moment I did it," said Rooney, who will captain his country against San Marino on Friday.

"I apologised to the players and paid the price. That won't happen again."

Rooney will lead England in Friday's World Cup qualifier at a sell-out Wembley in the absence of suspended Steven Gerrard and his injured deputy Frank Lampard - with a promise that his fiery temperament is now fully under control.

The Manchester United striker missed England's matches against France and Sweden after being sent off for kicking Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in the draw which secured England's place in Poland and Ukraine.

Rooney, who was first given the captain's armband in the 1-0 defeat by Brazil in Doha in 2009 and who wins his 77th cap on Friday, said: "If you have seen my performances after that at club level you will have seen the difference.

"I have cut out a lot of the silly tackles and silly mistakes I made as a young lad."

Rooney also says he has put behind him the sort of headlines he made when he criticised England's fans into a television camera following the dismal goalless draw with Algeria in Cape Town at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"It was partly to do with my own performance. I was partly looking to justify my own performance," said Rooney. "The England fans have been great. They're always there in their thousands and since then I'm a different person and a different player. I've matured."

The words from Rooney, who will go clear into fifth place in the list of all-time England goalscorers if he scores twice against San Marino, came against the backdrop of the new England code of conduct introduced by the Football Association.

Manager Roy Hodgson said: "It was introduced partly because the FA is very keen to make sure the [behavioural] style of the Euros - which compared favourably to some of the things that happened previously - was continued.

"It is conduct we must all adhere to. I had a very interesting discussion with England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster. He was very keen to make sure everyone was singing off the same hymn sheet.

"I suppose this written code of conduct will at least enable everyone to say we're singing off the same hymn sheet, we all know the words of the hymns so let's make certain we don't make any mistakes with our singing.

"There is a risk it may be elevated to a position it maybe doesn't deserve in the sense that every single thing that happens to a football player anywhere in England is going to be discussed in terms of a code of conduct, but I rather hope it won't quite come to those proportions.

"We really do have to try and behave well at all times but I would like to make the very simple point that we are human beings. We didn't descend on earth from some heavenly body somewhere. Mistakes do happen but are aware our conduct is under a bit more scrutiny than most.

"If we behave well we can do a lot of good and when we behave badly, unfortunately we do a lot of harm."


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