ROONEY ‘ SORRY’ FOR DIVING
LONDON — Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney apologised for the way he won the controversial penalty in their 3- 1 win at third- tier Preston North End in the FA Cup on Monday, said Preston keeper Thorsten Stuckmann.
The England striker fell after hurdling a challenge by the onrushing Stuckmann and converted the resulting spot kick to score the final goal two minutes from time and make sure of a quarter- final tie at home to holders Arsenal.
Replays showed there was no contact between Rooney and Stuckmann, sparking debate among pundits and causing England manager Roy Hodgson to defend national team captain Rooney.
Stuckmann has now revealed that the 29- year- old admitted at the time that his fall was oppor- tunistic. “After the game Rooney told me: ‘ Sorry, it was my chance to get a penalty. I had to use that’,” the League One side’s keeper was quoted as saying in the Sun newspaper yesterday. Stuckmann added: “I say it clear: that was no penalty. I also believe that if the situation had happened the other way around, one of our strikers against the United keeper, the ref wouldn’t have given the penalty. I have no doubt about that.”
Preston manager Simon Grayson defended the referee’s decision to award Rooney a penalty after Monday’s defeat, saying the striker had not dived despite there being no contact.
“I am not saying it wasn’t a penalty. I’m saying there was no contact,” said Grayson. “It wasn’t a dive. He’s gone to get out of the way and taken evasive action.” — Reuters.