BULGARIA coach Stanimir Stoilov has called for referee Viktor Kassai to protect his players should England striker Wayne Rooney lose his cool in today’s Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley.
Stoilov insists his players will not try to wind up Rooney as he looks to make amends for a disappointing World Cup in which he failed to score in four matches.
But he wants the Hungarian official to ensure Rooney is made to toe the line should nerves get the better of him in his desire to win over the England fans.
Stoilov said: “Rooney has great skills. I have to teach my players how to stop him on the pitch, not how to provoke him. But if Rooney is nervous because of his lack of goals, he should be punished if he is too aggressive.”
Meanwhile, England boss Fabio Capello insists he is not nursing a sense of grievance that Chelsea duo John Terry and Frank Lampard have both pulled out of England’s crucial Euro 2012 opener.
After his turbulent experience at the World Cup, England need to make a solid start to their qualification campaign in order to relieve the pressure on Capello.
James Milner will fill Lampard’s midfield vacancy while Phil Jagielka’s timely return to training after he recovered from an ankle injury means Capello has a ready-made replacement for Terry.
Capello believes goalkeeper Joe Hart is bringing some freshness to a rather familiar-looking England side. “Joe is my number one goalkeeper. He is good. He has improved a lot.”
Capello will keep faith that Rooney to break his 10-game international barren streak after finally finding the net for Manchester United at Old Trafford last Saturday.
“I hope Wayne Rooney will score. Sometimes the bookmakers find a solution,” smiled Capello when informed that Rooney was favourite to be the first to find the net.
“It was important for him to get the penalty against West Ham. It is important for every forward to score goals.”
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