Fergie gives Rooney support
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. (AP)
London - Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he has been so concerned by Wayne Rooney's poor World Cup form that he broke off from his summer holiday to call his star striker.
The Scot fears the weight of expectation on the 24-year-old's shoulders may have contributed to lacklustre displays in England's draws with the United States and Algeria in their opening matches in South Africa.
"I spoke to Wayne last week and I just said: 'Relax and enjoy it'," Ferguson said. "I just sensed there was a tension in and around the (England) camp from what I was hearing. I didn't watch the Algeria game but I just get a feeling that the expectation is affecting the England team.
"Sometimes the expectation can be debilitating in terms of getting the players to perform to the levels required to get through their group."
Ferguson said he was not surprised by the under-performance of England and France in the tournament so far.
"The season we have in Europe, particularly in England, is tough," said the Scot. "Then the players all met up with their international squads three or four days after the season finished and they have been together for most of that time, after a long, hard season.
"It's a real task to ask players to perform at the best level they can after a season in England.
"Germany take that month-long break in January and they always seem to do better in World Cups than anyone ever expects. Even though they are not as strong as German teams of the past, they still manage to do something in World Cups."
Ferguson admitted he had been surprised by the turmoil engulfing France and was critical of the decision to name his former player, Laurent Blanc, as coach Raymond Domenech's successor, prior to the tournament.
"I didn't expect them to do well, but I expected better than what we have seen," Ferguson said. "There seems to be a lot of disharmony in the camp.
"I think it was bad preparation for the players to know that Domenech was leaving and that Laurent Blanc was going to be coming in after the World Cup.
"They should have brought Blanc along as an over-seer or assistant just to get a look, and maybe he would have had a calming influence and brought a bit of harmony into the squad."
Ferguson was happy with the performance of new signing Javier Hernandez, who was in the Mexico side that beat France 2-0 and scored the first goal.
"He did very well," Ferguson said. "He showed good movement, quick and sees space very well. I was very pleased with his performance."