They shoot, they score...they lose
Just what attracted Wayne Rooney to a £1,200-a-night prostitute, asks Joe O'Shea
The big question for football fans and celebrity-watchers alike is: "Why on earth would Wayne Rooney (allegedly) cheat?"
The short answer could be: "Because he can."
If the claims made by a 21-year-old call-girl are to be believed (and there have been no denials coming from the Rooney camp), the England and Manchester United star has been taking some crazy risks with his career and his marriage.
Rooney has been caught out indulging in paid-for sex before.
He is one of the most famous people in England and would be a prime target for the kiss 'n' tell girls who virtually stalk the top premiership stars.
At 24 years of age and already burnt several times by the tabloids, Wayne might have been expected to be a little wary about trusting in the discretion of a woman who has sex with strangers for money.
However, if Wayne was expecting escort girl Jennifer Thompson to keep their little dalliance on the QT, possibly out of feelings of patriotism towards the England team, he has been badly let down.
Ms Thompson, who charges £1,200 a night for her company, was only too happy to sell her story to a British tabloid newspaper, breathlessly telling of their nights in the hotels, nightclubs and casinos of Manchester.
She claims they first met in June last year at the Manchester 235 Casino, five months before Coleen gave birth to the footballer's son Kai.
Ms Thompson claims that they had at least seven other dates and provides her own judgment on men who cheat on their expectant wives with call girls; "As a woman, I wouldn't want that done to me -- especially if I was pregnant."
She also claimed to have turned down a request from Rooney to visit the family home while his pregnant wife was away, saying she did so out of "respect for Coleen".
If he is the introspective type, Rooney might be reflecting on the life choices that have led to him to get morality lectures from a prostitute via the News Of The World.
But Wayne may not have the time right now for a spot of soul-searching as his England team faces into a tough Euro qualifying campaign after a farcical World Cup and a string of high-profile sex scandals featuring John Terry, Ashley Cole and Peter Crouch.
While Fabio Capello struggles to come up with some answers, the question about whether monogamy is a natural state for men may have already been answered in the negative by professional footballers.
Galway actor and playwright Peadar de Burca, who performed his successful one-man show Why Men Cheat at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival, spent six months talking to hundreds of men and women in Britain and Ireland for research purposes.
"I did talk to footballers and what they said is interesting in the case of Wayne Rooney because a lot of them said it was usually best to cheat with prostitutes," says Peadar.
"The attraction with call girls was that they weren't going to get emotionally involved and come looking to break your marriage. The guys could have their fun, pay them and there was no emotional involvement.
"You can never really know what is going on in the dynamics of a relationship."
Peadar believes that the Rooneys will not necessarily break up and says a surprisingly high number of women are willing to forgive, if not completely forget.
"I talked to so many women who were ready to take their men back after they cheated and a lot of the time I couldn't really believe that these smart, successful and good- looking women were willing to put up with it," he said.
"A lot of them said that they had put a lot of time and effort into their relationships and they weren't ready to go back out onto the dating scene and maybe end up with a guy who turned out to be worse.
"And I think men can pick up on this, that they can have a bit of fun as long as long as it doesn't affect the marriage and the woman doesn't find out about it."
Lisa O'Hara, counsellor with Irish agency Marriage and Relationship Counselling Services (MRCS) says men and women are unfaithful when there is something fundamentally wrong with their relationship.
'When we are unable to deal with feelings such as anger, hurt, loneliness and fear by talking it over with our partner, we become vulnerable," says Ms O'Hara.
"Men in particular, find it hard to communicate about the more 'negative' emotional stuff. They're not really hardwired for it. So they will try and soothe themselves however they can and one way of doing this is to go offside, so to speak"
Lisa also believes that pregnancy can put a strain on relationships and cause problems for men who may not be emotionally equipped to deal with the changes that a baby can bring.
"Pregnancy is a time when a couple are probably most vulnerable as gender differences become heightened," she says. "For most couples, it is the biggest change to their relationship and the anticipation of this, as well as the huge responsibility, could send a person into a tail-spin."
The MRCS counsellor believes the main task now facing the Rooneys is rebuilding trust.
"It all depends on the couple themselves and how hard they are willing to work at it," she says.