SIR Alex Ferguson has no regrets about leaving Wayne Rooney out of his Goodison Park starting line-up – and no fears about bringing him back at Old Trafford tonight.
Despite claims to the contrary, Ferguson insists he was shielding Rooney from what he expected would turn into some fearful abuse at the weekend in the wake of allegations about his private life.
The move was at odds with the treatment David Beckham, Paul Ince and Cristiano Ronaldo received at various points in their Manchester United careers, when Ferguson never shied away from putting them into his team, no matter what the circumstances.
Tonight though, back on more favourable territory, the United manager will rely on his star striker to fire them past his old club Rangers.
“I have no regrets at all. I did the right thing,” said Ferguson of Saturday’s decision, which some have suggested was actually a punishment.
“I left him out for the reasons I said on Saturday. I was not going to subject him to that nonsense at that ground.
“It was a benefit to our team but I have no concerns about playing him at all.”
It has been obscured somewhat but when Rooney went away with England he was still struggling to find his top form and had only broken his scoring duck thanks to a penalty against West Ham.
His two games with the national side brought a dramatic improvement, including three direct assists against Bulgaria and the opening goal in last week’s excellent victory over Switzerland.
“He will always prove his worth because he is a terrific player,” said Ferguson.
“I don’t know if the situation will inspire him. He has a lot of experience in these situations.
“But his performances for England and the fact he scored was as good a boost to him as anything.”