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'I would lock myself away and drink for two days' - Rooney opens up on issues with alcohol during time at Man Utd

11:13 PM WAT 05/02/2022
Wayne Rooney Derby 2021-22
The ex-England striker has spoken out about the pressure and stress he dealt with during his career

Wayne Rooney has opened up about the stress he experienced during the early portion of his career, admitting it would drive him to binge drink alone for days at a time.

Rooney, now the head coach at Derby County, spoke out ahead of the release of "Rooney," a documentary about his life and career set to be released on Amazon Prime on Friday.

The 36-year-old has said he battled demons early in his career, when he exploded onto the scene at Everton before earning a big-money transfer to Manchester United at age 18.

What was said?

"I had made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, some in the press and some not in the press, whether that's fighting or whatever," Rooney told the Mail on Sunday.

"For me to deal with that, deal with stuff that was in the newspapers, deal with the manager at the time, deal with family at the time, was very difficult.

"In my early years at Manchester United, probably until we had my first son, Kai, I locked myself away really. I never went out. 

"There were times you'd get a couple of days off from football and I would actually lock myself away and just drink, to try to take all that away from my mind.

"Locking myself away made me forget some of the issues I was dealing with. It was like a binge."

Rooney has said as he's gotten older, he's been able to control his anger and drinking better than in his younger days.

'I was always angry and aggressive when I was growing up. That was obvious when I came into football. It was obvious I had some issues which I had to try and deal with and now, thankfully, I have got them all under control," he said.

"My relationship with drink now is fine. No problems. I still have a drink now and again. Not like I used to. Not like when I was playing. It's well in control."

Rooney on turning down Everton approach

When Rafa Benitez was sacked as Everton head coach last month, Rooney was strongly linked with the job at his boyhood club.

But when approached by the Toffees, Rooney rejected a chance to interview for the job. He says that loyalty to his players and staff kept him with the Championship side.

"I have been here now for over three years as player and manager, and you build relationships up with players, first of all as team-mates, then as manager, and with staff," Rooney said.

"Everything I am asking of those players in terms of hard work, honesty, trust, commitment … if I was just to turn round and say: 'I have had an offer, I'm off,' I honestly couldn't do that to the players and the staff.

"I could see once Benitez was sacked and my name was getting linked with Everton that the staff were down and they were scared that if I left, where did that leave the club? I know they have been looking to me to try and help rebuild this club. 

"I spoke to the staff and said: 'I am stood in front of you and I am with you. Whatever is being said out there, I am with you.' I think that was big for them."

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