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Wayne Rooney’s Red Card and Three Match Ban

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has decided against appealing his red card against West Ham in the red devils’ close 2-1 win over the London team. Though it is first red card Rooney has been given at club level for 5 years, there’s a slight concern that he will now miss the clash with Chelsea during his three match ban.

United aren’t short of players to take his place – indeed, the conundrum of integrating Mata, Van Persie, Kagawa (before his move) and Rooney into forward roles was one that Van Gaal has been wrestling with throughout his turbulent start to the season. Things have grown even trickier with the purchase of Di Maria, and the loan arrival Falcao looking good and eager to carve out their own spot in the team.

Nevertheless, as a stabilising force in the team Rooney has been important this season, and it is yet to be seen if Man Utd can retain their spirited fight back from their poor early-season form without him. Luckily, his bad ends just before the Manchester derby at the Etihad on November 2nd.

If a Rooney red card has become somewhat of a rarity, the manner in which he earned it wasn’t. Ever the battler, Rooney brought down Stewart Downing 15 minutes into the second half with a kick that West Ham manager Sam Allardyce described as ‘crazy and irresponsible’.

Rooney himself claimed he was simply trying to ‘break up the attack’, and this was understandable in the desperate last half of a match that had United searching for their first three points of the season apart from a routine win against the extremely poor QPR. United were 2-1 up with goals from Van Persie and Rooney himself, with West Ham clawing one back from a Diafra Sakho header, had given West Ham hope enough to begin going at United. Ultimately, apart from a Nolan goal ruled out for offside, and plenty of pressure on the visitors, United held strong.

Van Gaal sounded concerned about the dismissal:

“It is a big miss, especially as I am thinking now he is playing at a good standard in his new role. And he likes to play there. When he gets three matches it means also that my captain is away. He is a very important person, especially in my vision, because not for nothing is he captain of this team.”

Van Gaal as shown plenty of faith in Rooney at a time when many fans are critical of his abilities and consistency: “He is an example for the squad. That I saw in the USA (on tour) and when he came back he kept that and that is why I made him captain.”

Ander Herrera also went off injured in the match, causing concern that he may not be available for United’s next match against Everton. Both the injury and Rooney’s ban come at a crucial time for united, as they seek to gain some momentum in what they had hoped would be a successful season. Luckily, two debutants in the team showed plenty of promise. Two 19 year olds in academy boy Paddy McNair, and Luke Shaw, their big signing from Southampton, were both solid.

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