Cahill: Rooney must sort out family first

Everton star Tim Cahill has advised Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney to put personal life ahead of football, as the public furore surrounding the England striker’s private life continues.

Rooney was left out of Manchester United’s squad for the 3-3 draw against Everton at Goodison Park last Saturday, after United boss Sir Alex Ferguson decided “not to subject him to the abuse” he would undoubtedly have received from Everton supporters.

And Cahill, who played a key role in Everton’s incredible late comeback against the Red Devils, has urged Rooney to concentrate on sorting out his family life before turning attentions back to football.

Cahill admitted he was surprised not to see Rooney’s name on the team-sheet before the lunchtime kick-off against Manchester United, pleasantly so given the striker’s importance to the Red Devils.

“Rooney is one of the best players in the world and someone I respect a lot, so it was a positive for us that he wasn’t playing. He is the best finisher in the world, there is no one better,” said Cahill admiringly.

“He is one of the best players England has ever produced – but, for me, it has to be family first.”

In light of the revelations about Rooney’s private life it was perhaps an ironic twist that United should face the England star’s former club away from home in their first Premier League game after the scandal emerged.

Rooney is still held in deep contempt by the blue half of Merseyside after his acrimonious transfer from Everton to Old Trafford in 2004, and Evertonians were thought to have been preparing an even more hostile reception than they usually reserve for their former hero.

But Ferguson’s decision to spare Rooney the trouble saved him an uncomfortable afternoon, and now Cahill is calling on the striker to “look after himself.”

“Football is not an issue in comparison. It’s only a game and Wayne has to look after himself,” he said.

As far as Cahill is concerned, family is even more important than the game he loves so dearly.

“I love football to bits and the Evertonians know how much I love it – and Wayne is a great professional. But it is family first.”

Rooney is expected to return to the Manchester United side to face Rangers in the Champions League this week,

By Jonathan Fadugba

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