Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Wayne Rooney over the Manchester United striker's comments that he "hates" Rice pudding. The club website published quotes from the former Everton player before withdrawing them, claiming they "were open to wilful mis-reporting."
"Hate's an easy word to say, easier than dislike. Maybe it is not the right word," said Ferguson.
Rooney gave the interview to MUTV - the club's own broadcaster, after United's victory over Inter Milan on Wednesday. He said: "I grew up in a poor part of Liverpool and went to a pretty bad school. The food was not great. We had rice pudding two or three times a week and I ended up hating it, and that hasn't changed."
Ferguson supported his striker saying "Since then he has come to Manchester United and he wants to eat well. It's nothing out of the ordinary really."
Soon after the interview was picked up by media outlets across the globe, United took the decision to remove it with the club concerned some might "make a big deal of it" ahead of a game against Valencia, the home of the famous Catalonian dish Paella, also heavily based on rice
Korean teammate Park Je-Sung was also upset at the "hate" remarks, prompting Fergie to add "I'm sure Wayne wasn't having a dig at Park or Asian people in general, but he is an apple pie and custard sort of bloke and can't help the way he is".
A press conference has been called for noon tomorrow and it is rumoured that Rooney will make a full apology and actually eat a full bowl of rice pudding as penance.
Rest assured I will be in attendance tomorrow and will bring you the developments as they happen.