Boozy Rooney may lose captaincy after 'defying Southgate'
England skipper's career at risk after claims he was told to go to bed before being photographed at wedding party
Wayne Rooney's position as England captain is looking increasingly precarious after more details of his drinking exploits the night after England's win over Scotland have emerged.
The Man United forward has apologised after pictures of him looking the worse for wear at a wedding party were published this week. It has since been claimed that Rooney began the evening drinking with FA employees but carried on after being told to stop.
"It is believed the Manchester United striker ignored a request from Gareth Southgate to stop drinking and go to bed," reports the Daily Mirror. "Southgate, the England interim manager, is understood to have told Rooney and two members of FA staff it was time to finish – only for the captain to later return to the wedding party."
It was then that Rooney was pictured looking bleary-eyed along with guests, who reported that he stayed up until 5am on Sunday.
The revelation that he defied the manager's orders puts "Rooney's position as England captain in serious doubt", says the Daily Mail. It claims that Rooney could be "stripped" of the role if Southgate is, as expected, confirmed as the new England boss in the coming days.
Indeed, The Sun, which first published the pictures, says: "The Manchester United captain's international future now hangs in the balance."
Rooney has had support in some quarters. Former teammate and England coach Gary Neville tweeted that it was "embarrassing" that the player had been forced to apologise, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggested that players were under too much scrutiny.
"All the legends we love and admire, they drank like devils and smoked like crazy – but they were still good players," he said.
But there was even more embarrassment for Rooney after it emerged that the knee injury that kept him out of the game against Spain on Tuesday was caused when he slipped on a bottle of energy drink in the dressing room after the Scotland game.
"It is understood that Rooney banged his knee after tripping over a bottle," reports The Times. "He has not been blamed for the accident and his conduct in the dressing room is not open to question.
"Rooney's awareness of his knee problem may have influenced his decision to drink on Saturday night, but has not lessened the unhappiness felt by Southgate and other senior figures at the FA because they were not aware of the extent of the injury at the time and Rooney had not been excused from Sunday's training session."
Rooney and England stars in trouble after 'massive booze-up'
On the same day as Wayne Rooney apologised for his "innapropriate" behaviour after England's win over Scotland on Friday night it has been claimed that many of his teammates are also in hot water over their antics that evening.
According to The Sun ten England players are being investigated by the Football Association for what the paper describes as a "massive booze-up" at the squad's Hertfordshire hotel.
The disclosure comes after Rooney issued an unreserved apology for the photographs of him that were published in the Sun earlier in the week.
In tabloid parlance, Rooney appeared tired and emotional in the pictures, and a statement was issued on his behalf on Wednesday evening, saying he appreciated "that the images are inappropriate for someone in his position". Explaining that he had apologised to interim England manager Gareth Southgate and FA technical director Dan Ashworth, the statement concluded: "He would like to further extend that apology to any young fans who have seen these pictures."
Rooney sat out Tuesday's friendly against Spain with a minor knee injury but the Sun says some of the Three Lions who fought out a 2-2 draw with the visitors had also let their hair down in spectacular style in the aftermath of Friday's 3-0 thrashing of Scotland.
It's alleged that ten of the squad "went partying at a nightclub until 4.30am" on Sunday morning having been given Saturday off. Instead of having a quiet night in at the team hotel preparing for Tuesday's match against Spain, they visited a local night spot on what the Sun describes as "a bender".
Informed of the incident, an FA spokesman said: “All England personnel have a responsibility to behave appropriately at all times. We will be reviewing our policy around free time whilst on international duty."
In the short-term, however, the players involved will have to face the fury of their club managers, most of whom are foreign and don't share the English belief that heavy drinking is just a bit of harmless fun.
The Sun quotes a source saying: "Some of the Premier League managers are very unhappy. The FA blazers are in a panic — their statement is a touch economical with the truth. As an organisation, they don’t seem like they have taken proper care."
According to Sky Sports Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is "incensed" with the FA after learning that England backroom staff were drinking with Rooney during his weekend binge.
The broadcaster alleges that coaching personnel, including members of the medical team, were in the bar as Rooney knocked back pints of beer and glasses of red wine. Sky Sports adds that Mourinho is furious that his player "was allowed to behave in this manner while under the responsibility of the Football Association".