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England's Rooney "gobsmacked" to be sent off

Written by: Staff

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) England forward Wayne Rooney today said he was ''gobsmacked'' to be sent off against Portugal at the World Cup and did not deliberately stamp on defender Ricardo Carvalho.

''When the referee produced the red card I was amazed -- gobsmacked,'' Rooney said in a statement. ''I want to say absolutely categorically that I did not intentionally put my foot down on Ricardo Carvalho.'' Rooney was dismissed by Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo in the 62nd minute of Saturday's quarter-final after battling through the challenges of two players and treading on Carvalho's groin as he tried to disentangle himself.

''...what happened didn't warrant a red card,'' added Rooney.

''If anything, I feel we should have had a free kick for the fouls committed on me during the same incident.

''He slid in from behind me and unfortunately ended up in a position where my foot was inevitably going to end up as I kept my balance. That's all there was to it.

''If you ask any player... they will tell you that I am straight and honest in the way I play.

''From what I've seen in the World Cup, most players would have gone to ground at the slightest contact but my only thought then was to keep possession for England.

BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED British media today reported that Rooney was furious with Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo, his Manchester United club mate, who rushed 40 metres to the referee, apparently to demand a card for the England forward.

However, Rooney said in the statement: ''I bear no ill feeling to Cristiano but am disappointed that he chose to get involved. I suppose I do, though, have to remember that on that particular occasion we were not team mates.'' Ronaldo said afterwards that he complained to the referee about the foul but did not ask for a red card to be shown.

''Obviously, I'm bitterly disappointed to have been sent off in a World Cup finals match for England,'' added Rooney.

He also paid tribute to departing England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and captain David Beckham.

''I want to say how sorry I am to see Sven go and to see David step down as captain,'' he said.

''I will always be grateful to Sven for his guidance and the faith he showed in me and to David for being a great captain and great friend.'' Reuters RL VP0000

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