Rooney attacks press as World Cup media frenzy builds
As England squad flies out to Portugal relations with the British media already appear strained
Wayne Rooney has attacked the British media ahead of the World Cup, branding the press "disgusting" for following him to Portugal and publishing pictures of his family playing crazy golf.
The player's Twitter outburst comes as the rest of the squad head to the Vale do Lobo resort in the Algarve today to begin their preparations for Brazil. Rooney flew out earlier than his team-mates to work on his fitness after missing the end of the season with a groin strain.
Disgusting that English press have flew out to Portugal to follow me while I'm with my children
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) May 18, 2014
Rooney's anger appeared have some effect as a story featuring paparazzi images of the player and his family disappeared from the Daily Mail website in the aftermath of his complaint, however, other tabloid websites, including the Daily Mirror, continued to run it.
And not everyone has sympathy with the England star. Website Caughtoffside says: "Rooney's life, both on and off the field, has been under scrutiny for most of his career and the England international will just need to get used to the idea that he can't escape the media, even when on holiday."
And the spat could set alarm bells ringing as the countdown to England's opening game begins. Despite attempts to dampen expectations the media frenzy around the England camp is building and relations between press and players already appear to be strained.
During the last campaign in South Africa the fans and media turned on the England squad, and Rooney lost his cool as he was booed after a dispiriting draw with Algeria, launching a foul-mouthed complaint on camera about the England support.
Roy Hodgson will be anxious that such negativity does not infect his squad this time round.
But there was a hint of things to come this weekend, as the Daily Star Sunday has lifted the lid on "the sleazy side of England's Algarve base", where it claims "prostitutes offer sex for as little as £32".
Its lurid expose claimed the town's back streets are lined with strip shows, and the paper's undercover reporter even visited a bar where "scantily-clad girls talked punters into buying them drinks at rip-off prices before offering full sex starting at 150 euros".
Heaven forbid that any England player is spotted in such an establishment.
The Sun's tub-thumping has also begun. After Hodgson stated that his modest desire was for the team "to come home with people saying, 'Well done'", the paper declared that the manager believed England could win "the ultimate prize".