LONDON, February 18- Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney apologised for the way he won a penalty during his side’s FA Cup win over third-tier Preston North End, according to the beaten team’s goalkeeper.
Rooney went to ground in the penalty area after Preston goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann slid out to meet him towards the end of Monday’s fifth-round tie at Deepdale and scored from the spot to complete a 3-1 win.
The United captain was accused of diving by a number of former players on social media and although Preston manager Simon Grayson refused to criticise him, Stuckmann said that Rooney had apologised.
“After the game Rooney told me: ‘Sorry, it was my chance to get a penalty. I had to use that’,” Stuckmann was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s edition of British tabloid The Sun.
Stuckmann added: “I say it clear: that was no penalty. I also believe that if the situation had happened the other way around, one of our strikers against the United keeper, the ref wouldn’t have given the penalty. I have no doubt about that.”
Rooney toed the ball past the sliding Stuckmann as the pair convened on the edge of the Preston box and went to ground despite an apparent absence of contact.
But England manager Roy Hodgson, analysing the game for the BBC, said that Rooney — who is his captain — had not dived.
“Not for me. I just think he was taking evasive action,” Hodgson said.
“If you are a referee in the run of play without replays, I don’t think any of us would have said it is not a penalty. The goalkeeper has gone with both feet. Wayne has touched it past him.”