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Rooney ducks Everton clash

Manchester United hitman Wayne Rooney was absent from the team which took on former club Everton at Goodison Park. The England international, who has had to cope with revelations about his private life all week, was not on the team coach when it arrived at the ground an hour and 15 minutes before kick-off and his name did not appear on the team sheet.

In addition to the newspaper headlines the 24-year-old has generated over the last few days there had been a lot of talk prior to the game about him returning to his old stomping ground.

Just before kick-off Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson said he left Rooney out to spare him the abuse he usually receives at Goodison Park.

"We made a decision simply because he gets terrible abuse here. We don't want to subject him to that," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"We have got a fantastic squad so we are using it. Wayne will play against Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday."

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