LIVERPOOL, England – Wayne Rooney was dropped from Manchester United for Saturday's match at former club Everton because manager Alex Ferguson feared fans would abuse the striker who is facing an alleged sex scandal.
Manchester United conceded two stoppage-time goals for a 3-3 draw against Everton.
Rooney has been the subject of lurid headlines after a prostitute claimed in several papers last Sunday that he repeatedly cheated on his then-pregnant wife Coleen last year.
The Rooneys, who married two years ago, issued a statement Friday that referred to "many inaccurate and intrusive stories" as they appealed for privacy to "resolve any issues."
By dropping the 24-year-old Rooney from United's squad on Saturday, Ferguson spared him the hostile reception he was likely to receive at Everton, the Premier League rival he left in acrimony six years ago.
"We made the decision simply because Wayne gets terrible abuse here and we're not going to subject him to it," Ferguson said. "We have got a fantastic squad so we are using it. Wayne will play against Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday."
Rooney scored his first goal for England in a year to help beat Switzerland 3-1 Tuesday in a European Championship qualifier.