ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney admitted in an interview that he started drinking to cope with his problem and the pressure of fame.
Sources said Derby County manager Rooney started his playing career with boyhood club Everton, scoring his first Premier League goal spectacularly as a 16-year-old against Arsenal in 2002.
After Arsenal, Rooney joined United and became one of the country’s most iconic players, scoring 253 goals for the Old Trafford team and winning five league titles and the Champions League.
Rooney, 36, became England’s men’s record goal scorer with 53 and most capped outfield player with 120 international appearances.
“To go from that to having to deal with becoming a Premier League player at 16 and an international player was something I wasn’t prepared for,” Rooney said.
“I had never even thought about the other side of being a football player. I wasn’t prepared for that part of life,” Rooney added.
He said his drinking problem continued until his first son, Kai, was born in 2009.
“There were times you would 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,” he said.
“People might know that I liked a drink at times or went out but there was a lot more to it than just that. It was what was going on in my head,” he added.