Wayne Rooney: I am not a diver
Published 22:28 03/09/09 By By John Cross
Wayne Rooney has insisted he has NEVER taken a dive - and would never cheat to win a penalty.
Rooney has been accused of being a diver amid the storm surrounding Arsenal striker Eduardo getting a two-game UEFA ban which has put cheating at the top of football’s agenda.
Rooney was accused of going down early before Manuel Almunia’s challenge to win a penalty against Arsenal in United’s win over their bitter title rivalries on Saturday.
And Gunners boss Arsene Wenger still complains Rooney dived to win a penalty when Manchester United ended his side's 49-game unbeaten run in October 2004 which sparked the “Pizzagate” bust-up at Old Trafford.
But England striker Rooney said: “I have never intentionally tried to dive, there have been times when I have tried to stay on my feet and tried to get the shot off rather than going down. I have never intentionally dived.
“I think everyone who watches me play knows I am an honest player who tries to be as honest as they can.
“If the referee gives a penalty at the end of the day then there is nothing you can do. It’s a penalty. If they want to take the punishment further that is down to UEFA and the authorities.
“I don’t think it is fair for players to dive and try and cheat the other team. It is not fair.”
Rooney added about his clash with Almunia: “The ball got played through I got on the end of it, got contact with the ball and then I got contact which knocked me off balance and the referee saw it as a penalty.”
Rooney also claimed that big games have been decided by cheating in the past and said it was right that Emmanuel Eboue was booked for diving at Old Trafford on Saturday, just three days after the Eduardo row.
United striker Rooney added: “It was clear for everyone to see that (Eboue dived). He got the punishment of a yellow card.
“These things have happened for years and you can only bank on the referees making the right decision and giving the right punishment. It is important the game is played honestly.
“It is difficult. It is not down to me to say what should be done. In different circumstances you could ask for more but it’s not down to me.
“It has happened for years and I am sure many big games have been decided by the wrong decisions. It’s not really down to me to fix. It is down to other people.”