Former England captain Wayne Rooney has candidly discussed his struggles with alcohol abuse during the early stages of his football career, describing it as a way to cope with the pressure of fame.
Speaking on a podcast hosted by former rugby league star and Motor Neurone Disease campaigner Rob Burrow, Rooney revealed the difficulties he faced in handling the immense fame he gained as a young man.
Rooney made his debut for Everton’s senior team at the age of 16, became an England international at 17, and joined Manchester United at 20. However, he admitted that the high profile and expectations took a toll on him.
In the interview, the 38-year-old shared, “My release was alcohol when I was in my early 20s. I’d go home and spend a couple of days at home, not leaving the house, and I’d drink almost until I’d pass out.”
” I didn’t want to be around people because sometimes you feel embarrassed. Sometimes you feel like you’ve let people down, and ultimately, I didn’t know how else to deal with it.”
Rooney acknowledged that he didn’t seek help during this difficult period, which led to a prolonged struggle. However, he has since become more open to seeking assistance and addressing personal issues.
“Ultimately I did not know how to deal with it so I chose alcohol to try and help me get through that.”
“There were people for me to talk to but I chose not to.”
The interview was part of a new podcast series called “Seven” hosted by Rob Burrow and his wife Lindsey, where they interview seven sporting figures and ask seven questions.
Rooney was the first guest, and the series uses AI technology with a computerized voice to facilitate communication due to Rob Burrow’s battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
Rooney praised Burrow’s approach to dealing with the disease, emphasizing the positive impact his energy and determination have had on inspiring others.