'I shouldn't have said it' – Wayne Rooney regrets World Cup attack on England fans

England's Wayne Rooney talks to a TV camera after the 0-0 draw between England and Algeria in the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 18 June, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa
(Image credit: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images)

Wayne Rooney has admitted that he regrets his outburst towards booing England (opens in new tab) fans at the 2010 World Cup.

Following a dire 0-0 draw with Algeria in their second group game at the tournament in South Africa, Fabio Capello's Three Lions were jeered as they left the pitch at full-time – and Rooney was caught on camera making his feelings equally clear.

"Nice to see your own fans booing you," England's record scorer sarcastically remarked.

Now, 12 years on, Rooney has been reflecting upon the incident – and the former Manchester United (opens in new tab) star wishes he hadn't reacted as he did. Writing for The Times on the eve of Qatar 2022 (opens in new tab), he explained:

"Obviously, I shouldn't have said what I did.  It wasn’t a dig about England fans in general, just frustration at what happened on the day. I remember them booing us ten minutes into the game. You’re being labelled as a group of players who don’t care and it’s far from it: you probably care too much and are trying too hard.

"Personally, I’d have loved to play better – but I felt in a blur throughout the tournament. In training, I just couldn’t control the ball – I had no touch – and in games I was the same."

Having drawn 1-1 with the USA in their opening match England ultimately scraped through to knockout stages by beating Slovenia 1-0.

Rooney failed to score at the tournament, where Capello's side fell to a 4-1 loss to Germany in the last 16 (featuring Frank Lampard's infamous goal that wasn't...).

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...