Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jagielka backs Rooney's resolve

Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka (left) and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney
Jagielka (left) has been on England duty with Rooney

Everton's Phil Jagielka believes Wayne Rooney can cope with any abuse from fans if he plays for Manchester United against the Toffees on Saturday.

United visit Rooney's former club in the Premier League amid allegations concerning the striker's private life.

"I'm sure Wayne can deal with it," said defender Jagielka. "He is tough and will let his football do the talking.

"I will enjoy the battle against him. I like playing against good players and Wayne is definitely a good player."

Rooney, 24, left Everton for Old Trafford in the summer of 2004 after bursting on to the football scene as a 16-year-old.

Jagielka has predicted that the Everton fans will dish out some "stick" to Rooney, and the centre-back will also be getting in on the act in a good-natured manner as the pair resume club rivalries after being on international duty together with England.

I'm not exactly best of friends with Wayne so I've not been hanging around with him that much

Everton defender Phil Jagielka

"It should be amusing," said Jagielka, who will be trying to help Everton improve on a start to the season which has seen them pick up only one point from three league games.

"On Merseyside, Wayne always gets a little bit of stick and I'll be giving him a little bit as well if he plays on Saturday.

"I've spoken to him about it. All the boys in the England squad know who is playing who.

"It is always interesting playing against people you've just been away with in the week. No doubt I'll give him a bit of banter if he plays.

"There is a good chance he will get slaughtered. He normally gets quite a bit of stick anyway. I can't see that changing come Saturday."

Rooney was influential in helping England beat Bulgaria last Friday and, after a number of allegations concerning his private life were made in the News of the World and Sunday Mirror newspapers at the weekend, he scored in the 3-1 victory in Switzerland on Tuesday.

England boss Fabio Capello praised Rooney's display against the Swiss but Jagielka insists he cannot offer any more of an insight into the striker's mindset.

"It's not really for me to comment on what Wayne has been like this week," he said.

"I'm not exactly best of friends with Wayne so I've not been hanging around with him that much.

"He seems his normal self but I haven't got an in-depth sort of view of how he has been feeling."

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