ROONEY BANNED FOR THREE EURO 2012 MATCHES
NYON (AFP) - England striker Wayne Rooney was on Thursday banned for three matches by UEFA for his red card against Montenegro, a decision which will rule him out of the group stages of Euro 2012.
Manchester United star Rooney was punished for his 74th-minute sending off in the 2-2 draw in Podgorica last Friday in England's final qualifier when he kicked out at Miodrag Dzudovic.
'The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has today handed down a three-match suspension to England forward Wayne Rooney following his dismissal during the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro last Friday,' said a UEFA statement.
The Football Association is yet to decide whether or not to appeal, an action which could lead to an even longer suspension.
'Further to UEFA's decision to impose a three-match suspension on Wayne Rooney following his sending off against Montenegro, The FA await the full reasons from the disciplinary committee, and will give full consideration to the decision internally, before deciding on any response to UEFA or making any further public comment,' the statement said.
England had been hopeful that the 25-year-old would only serve a one-game ban after referee Wolfgang Stark admitted Rooney's acceptance of his red card could work in his favour.
Rooney's sending-off had reopened all the old question marks about the striker's temperament, echoing his 2006 World Cup quarter-final dismissal for a similarly reckless foul on Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho.
England coach Fabio Capello said Rooney, who has 73 caps, had been guilty of a 'silly' mistake, and had revealed that he plans to use next month's friendlies against world champions Spain and Sweden as an opportunity to plan for the player's absence.
'I think all the players are important. But we will find the solution to play without him. We will try something the next game, the next friendly game that we play,' the Italian said.
Capello admitted that Rooney's behaviour was indefensible.
'It's a red card. I can't defend that. He made a silly mistake. He said 'yes, sorry',' Capello said in the aftermath of the game in Montenegro.
'He's a really important player, he's got a lot of experience, he's played a lot of important games. But it was a silly mistake. What can you do?
'I've seen really important players make silly mistakes before. At that moment you can't understand why this happened.'
Capello had also warned Rooney that he couldn't expect to stroll back into the squad after serving his suspension.
'Yes,' replied Capello, when asked if he was prepared to leave Rooney out of his team.
'In my life as a manager I have put on the bench a lot of players. I always decided who was the best player at that moment.'
The Italian added earlier this week: 'I need to find the solution. And if we find that solution, he needs to work to return to the first 11.
'You know me. Sometimes I make mistakes but I try to select the best players, in the best moment of form.'
Rooney's absence gives a host of players their chance to cement their places in the England squad for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, Rooney's United teammate Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent of Aston Villa and Liverpool's Andy Carroll will be the leading strikers in the shake-up.