Rooney set to escape punishment for elbow incident

Updated: Feb 28, 2011, 22:45 PM IST

London: Wayne Rooney seems likely to escape punishment for elbowing Wigan Athletic`s James McCarthy as the referee saw the incident and awarded a free kick against the Manchester United striker.

Rooney caught McCarthy off the ball in an innocuous situation on the halfway line after four minutes of the Premier League match at the DW Stadium, which United went on to win 4-0.

He was widely condemned for the action.

The referee awarded a free kick but did not caution Rooney, leaving Wigan manager Roberto Martinez furious.

"I saw the incident clearly and the referee did as well because he gave the free-kick," Martinez told reporters.

"Once you give a free-kick it is quite clear that it is a red card. When you look at the replay, it is quite clear he catches James McCarthy in the face with his elbow.”

"If one of my players had done that, I would think he was very lucky to stay on the pitch."

United manager Alex Ferguson, however, said "there is nothing in it."

"But, what will happen, because it is Wayne Rooney, the press will raise a campaign to get him hung by Tuesday or electrocuted or something like that.

"It is unbelievable. Watch the press. It will be interesting to see it."

United`s victory took them four points clear of Arsenal, who play Birmingham City in the League Cup final later on Sunday.

They can stretch that lead to seven when they play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Bureau Report