Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was well within his rights to punish Wayne Rooney if the strike was ill-prepared to train.

Rooney, Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson were all dropped for Manchester United's chastening 3-2 defeat to Blackburn at the weekend for an alleged breach of rules.

Wright believes Sir Alex Ferguson's authority at Manchester United remains all-encompassing and suggests that remains hugely important at Old Trafford.

The former England and Arsenal star believes Ferguson has sent a clear message to his Manchester United side that certain standards are required from players at Old Trafford.

"ALEX FERGUSON has hardly surprised me." The Arsenal hero told the Sun. "Not for the first time, at a crucial part of the season, the Manchester United manager has given a key player an almighty boot up the a**e."

Wright continued: "Despite not actually breaking a curfew, Fergie is clearly unhappy Rooney went out at night and then trained badly the next day.

"This episode involving three United players - Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson were also there - was clearly unacceptable for Fergie and true to form, he has acted swiftly.

"What the Old Trafford manager has done is send a clear message out to the team, particularly the younger lads, in terms of the standards that have to be met."

Wright believes Ferguson's years in the game and previous history when dealing with high-profile players at Manchester United gives the Scot the edge when potential problems occur, and if he deemed Rooney ill-prepared for training the manager had to act.

"To perform at your very highest level, you have to train well - and it was Fergie's view that this wasn't the case for Rooney on that specific day." The former England international continued, intimating the Manchester United manager rarely misses a trick.

"This incident is yet another example that the modern player has to be so careful when socialising.

"Ferguson seems to have eyes and ears all over the North West and if a player dines out - even if he behaves himself - then Ferguson will know about it.

"If you are unconvincing in training the next day, then you have had it."

Rooney is expected to be recalled for Manchester United's game against Newcastle on Wednesday and both parties have dismissed speculation that Rooney and Ferguson have fallen out over the matter.