MANCHESTER: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson expected Wayne Rooney to be hit with a three match-ban which has ruled the England striker out of the Euro 2012 group stages.
“I expected a three-match ban, I must admit,” Ferguson told MUTV. “Sending offs usually carry that and I didn't think there was going to be any leniency towards England.
“He is going to miss the group games for England, which is a blow for him and England.”
Rooney was banned after being red-carded in England's 2-2 draw against Montenegro last week, a result which guaranteed Fabio Capello's team a place in the finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
Ferguson had earlier refused to comment on Rooney's sending-off when he held his weekly news conference, opting to concentrate on Saturday's eagerly-awaited clash with bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
But Rooney did find an ally in David Moyes, the manager at his boyhood club Everton.
“The three-game ban is a joke,” said Moyes. “There is no doubting that Wayne shouldn't have done what he did.
“But I thought they (UEFA) would have near enough let it go.”
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson insists that despite the three-match ban, Capello should still take Rooney to the Euro 2012 finals as the striker can play a crucial role in the knockout rounds.
“It is a pity because it is Wayne Rooney. But it gives you a very fit and hungry player in the quarter-final,” said Eriksson, who was England coach when Rooney was sent off in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal.
“Of course you have to take him. We are talking about Wayne Rooney. He could score the winning goal in the final.”
“You are afraid to take away what his strengths are. The power and aggression are important to him. You have to take that.”
Eriksson, now at Championship side Leicester, added: “I said it in 2006, 'don't kill him, we need him'. If he was perfect in everything it would be impossible to stop him.”