London, July 21 : Former Brazilian football great Pele has warned England forward Wayne Rooney to curb his temper if he wants to be regarded as a world-class player.
Rooney's infamous short temper got the better of him several times during the opening game of Manchester United's pre-season tour of South Africa on Saturday during a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs.
Angry at decisions not going his way, Rooney reacted to the perceived injustices by launching into opponents with a series of reckless challenges that saw him lucky to stay on the field, reports The Sun.
Pele has told 22-year-old Roo he must learn to use his belligerence in the right way and not lose control by taking it out on opponents.
"When he's tangling with opponents, Rooney has to learn how to defend himself - not attack the opponent. If you can protect yourself against challenges, it will be easier to keep your temper," Pele was quoted, as saying.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, whose team travel to Durban today for tomorrow's second game of the tour, against Orlando Pirates, was typically protective of Rooney when probed on the forward's temper.
"Wayne is a fighter, a born fighter," said Fergie. "That's what he is. He gets frustrated in some games. He had a little spat with their fullback but it was next to nothing. I don't think he was out of order," Fergie said.