Wayne Rooney 'was injured', Gareth Southgate says after pictures show England captain 'drunk' at party
England manager Gareth Southgate reiterated that captain Wayne Rooney missed Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Spain due to a minor knee injury, despite pictures of the Manchester United striker appearing to be intoxicated emerging in the media.
The Sun printed a picture of Rooney appearing to be drunk on its front page on Wednesday, a day after the 31-year-old missed the final England international of the year. The Football Association confirmed on Monday that Rooney had been sent back to United to recover from a “minor knee injury”, but a story emerged in The Sun that claimed Rooney had “gatecrashed” a wedding party at The Grove Hotel in Watford on Saturday where the England squad were staying.
Another picture printed in The Sun shows Rooney alongside two women in a photograph allegedly taken at the party, with sources at the event claiming he was up drinking until 5am Sunday morning and could barely speak or stand. He was also pictured alongside England teammate Phil Jagielka.
Rooney’s representatives have denied that he gatecrashed the wedding party and that he was actually invited to attend by “excited revellers”.
Speaking after the 2-2 draw with Spain, Southgate confirmed that Rooney suffered the injury on Friday in the 3-0 victory over Scotland and was not able to train with the rest of the squad on Sunday, and dismissed the idea that his absence was some sort of disciplinary action for going out the night before.
"Wayne was injured. He picked up an injury on Friday, couldn't train Sunday and that's it,” Southgate said.
Southgate, who also confirmed before the match that the players were given a day off on Saturday and given some free time, had no plans to start Rooney in the international friendly even if he was fit, with Jordan Henderson captaining the side.
"I wouldn't start Wayne in this game anyway, so we'll decide which route to go," Southgate said on Monday.
"At times too much of that responsibility has laid with Wayne and we need to share that. There are leaders already and other potential leaders who I think can step forward.
"And once you have a team full of those players then we'll have a lot of success."
Southgate has now completed his four-match spell as interim manager, with the FA expected to offer him the chance of becoming manager on a full-time basis for the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship, although his contract will include a break clause after Russia 2018.
Independent News Service