Former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney opens up about battle over binge drinking

Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has admitted he battled heavy drinking during his playing career in an attempt to distract himself from the problems he was facing.

Rooney, who currently leads Derby County’s admirable fight to stay in the Championship this season, has addressed his long-standing problems with binge drinking ahead of the release of the Amazon Prime Video documentary ‘Rooney’.

The Rams boss, who scored 253 goals in 559 appearances for United, helping them win five Premier League titles during that time, joined the club from Everton in 2004 when he was 18.

Now looking to push himself and succeed in management at Derby, Rooney has opened up about his previous battles, noting the huge challenge he faced dealing with pressure during his youth.

“I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, some in the press and some not in the press, whether it was fighting or whatever,” Rooney told the Mail on Sunday.

“For me, dealing with that, dealing with things that were in the papers, dealing with the manager at the time, dealing with the family at the time, it was very difficult.

“In my early years at Manchester United, probably until we had my first son Kai, I really shut myself in. I never came out.

“There were times when you had a couple of days off from football and I would lock myself in and just drink, to try to get all of that off my mind.

“Locking myself up made me forget some of the issues I was dealing with. It was like a binge.”

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On the nature of those pressures, the former England captain continued: “It was just an accumulation of everything, the pressure of playing for your country, playing for Manchester United, the pressure of some of the things that came out in the papers about my life. staff, trying to deal with all that pressure that builds up.

“I was trying to figure out how to deal with it myself. Growing up on a council estate, you would never really go talk to anyone.”

“You always find a way to deal with it yourself. It was trying to deal with it yourself instead of asking for help.”

Having taken over management just over a year ago, Rooney is now looking to complete one of football’s greatest miracle stories and keep Derby in the championship, despite being deducted 21 points. The Rams are currently seven points from safety and the former United man is adamant they can avoid the drop.

“Everything that happened in Derby made me think even more that I can have a good career in management,” added Rooney.

“I believe that 100 per cent. I think we’ll stay awake. I think I could go to the Premier League and manage at a top club now. I’m not worried about that.”

“I know what my strengths are, and more importantly, I know what my weaknesses are.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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