Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has blamed Sven-Goran Eriksson for Wayne Rooney's slump in form, branding the former England boss an 'idiot'.
The 20-year-old has struggled so far this season and looks short of match-sharpness after serving suspensions at club and international level.
Whelan traces the problem back to Rooney's dismissal in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal, when the Manchester United star was sent off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho, having been played up front on his own by Eriksson.
The Latics chief told The Sun: 'The manager we had (Eriksson) absolutely killed him (Rooney).
'You just hope his enthusiasm hasn't been killed by that idiot. I watched the Portugal game in the World Cup and felt so sorry for him. (Eriksson) played him up front on his own and he so wanted to do well but was desperate.
'He was fighting like hell for the ball but they had two men on him and that was it, game over. Then he got sent off but that was just because he was fighting and running so much. Rooney was pulling his guts out for England. The previous manager killed him stone dead.'