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21st Feb 2024

“Bag of cider, packet of cigarettes” – Wayne Rooney gives it straight on how alcohol affected his career

Lee Costello

“I had different issues.”

Former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has opened up on his relationship with alcohol and the impact that it had on his playing career.

Rooney was only 16 years old when he made his Premier League debut for Everton, but never looked out of place as a boy playing in a man’s game.

Unfortunately, this accelerated approach into adulthood was also true for his off-the-field exploits, as he admits that he was as young as 14 when he started drinking alcohol with his friends.

“I’ve got a bag of cider and a packet of cigarettes” – Wayne Rooney on how alcohol affected his career

Speaking on the latest episode of the Stick to Football podcast, the former England international said he drank too much during his playing days and that it probably did have an affect on his career.

“‘You [Jamie Carragher] know where I grew up. It wasn’t an easy place to live but, I used absolutely loved growing up there, it taught me so many different things.

“I remember when I was 14, I was crossing the road – I think it was a Thursday or something like that – and I was playing for the Under 19s on the Saturday for Everton, Colin Harvey was the manager.

“So, I’m crossing the road, I’ve got a bag of cider, a packet of cigarettes, and a car stopped to let me cross, and it was Colin Harvey.”

“We used to go to an abandoned, empty house and we’d knock the windows through, and we’d sit in there and drink.”

“When you look back, I think – and I spoke about it when I did the documentary – I had different issues, ended up drinking way too much and obviously that took its toll,” he said.

“You can always look back and think – ‘If you didn’t do that, would you have played at an even higher level, achieved more, played for longer’ – all these questions, again, it’s hindsight.”

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