Premier League - Paper Round: Rooney and the ref

Eurosport - Mon, 01 Mar 09:00:00 2010

There is a mix of Rooney-worshipping and ref-bashing headlines in the morning's papers following yesterday's Carling Cup final.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill (right) argues with referee Phil Dowd (center) after the final whistle - 0

England star Wayne shocked everyone by coming on for the crocked Michael Owen and heading in an Antonio Valencia cross for a 2-1 Manchester United win over Aston Villa.

However, United enjoyed the unbelievable good fortune of seeing centre-half Nemanja Vidic not even cautioned by Phil Dowd for chopping down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the box early in the match.

The Daily Star's headline sums it all up nicely: 'Roo Lucky Devils: Villa fury at Vidic nasty' it cries, while The Sun positively screeches 'Bottler!' O'Neill rages at ref Dowd'.

Inside The Sun turns to the boy Rooney: 'It's the Wayney Season: Rooney's raining goals' it proclaims, although disappointingly missing a Photoshop opportunity by sticking a straightforward pic of the player holding aloft the trophy.

The Mirror focuses on the fact that Rooney - contrary to BBC claims during the match that he had a touch of the 'flu - revealed after the match that he was on the bench due to a sore knee.

Under the headline 'Roo Knee', of course, it claims that the striker will miss England's friendly with Egypt next week as a result.

With another Vidic nasty gag thrown in, opening goalscorer Owen is also highlighted: 'You can always rely on Michael... he shoots, he scores... then goes off injured.' Quite.

In the Daily Mail Martin Samuel condemns the Vidic decision. 'We've no right to a free hit on the house' he declares, insisting that the penalty award should not impinge upon the official's judgment as to whether a player should be red-carded.

Samuel is prolific this morning: in another column in the same paper he quotes Stoke chief scout regarding Ryan Shawcross, who broke the leg of Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal on Saturday.

"Ryan isn't that sort of player... there was no malicious intent. We've seen far worse challenges go unpunished. Before long Ryan might be on the end of one himself."

There is a twist to this: the words were spoken in 2007, after the centre-half broke the leg of one-time Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers, then and now at Sheffield Wednesday.

Samuel's headline asks: 'How can so many broken legs be down to chance?'

Less research on the matter was done by the Star's Brian Woolnough, who hopes that we 'Give cryin' Ryan a break' - presumably the pun was not intended.

The Mirror tips Ramsey for a full return, carrying quotes from the surgeon who saved Eduardo's career, while reporting that on-loan Arsenal whiz-kid Jack Wilshere will stay at Bolton until the summer despite the injury.

In transfer gossip Liverpool have handed a 300,000 contract to a 15-year-old England youth international, 200,000 of it in signing-on fees. QPR will pick up at least 500,000 for the deal for their former playmaking wunderkind Raheem Sterling.

Birmingham are looking at Rangers striker Kris Boyd, according to the Mail, and will have him watched against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans is now interesting Arsenal - he is rated at 6 million - while Burnley manager Brian Laws is eyeing a move for Cameroon winger Salomon Olembe, a free agent after leaving Turkish team Kayserispor.

And what better subject to finish on than John Terry, with a dose of Craig Bellamy thrown in? The deposed England captain is furious after Bell' slammed him in the aftermath of Manchester City's stunning victory at Chelsea.

"People in glass houses should not throw stones," he responded to the forward's contention that "everybody in football knows what the guy is like. But that is off the field".

And just to stick the boot in, Mick Dennis in the Daily Express is of the opinion that Terry is now nothing more than an also-ran.

Jonathan Symcox / Eurosport

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