The Birmingham manager Wayne Rooney has opened up on how he struggled with difficulties he faced early in his football career. The former England playmaker in a statement disclosed that he faced a lot of pressures to deal with fame on the new podcast of ex-rugby league star and motor neuron disease (MND) campaigner Rob Burrow.
The former Manchester United started his football career when he first broke into Everton’s senior side at the age of 16. Rooney at the age of 17 was introduced to England international and joined Manchester United at 18.
According to the former England international, he said that his high profile came with a cost. He explained his abuse of alcohol early in his football career as a “release”, saying he would drink “almost until I’d pass out”.
He said: “My release was alcohol when I was in my early 20s,” the 38-year-old told Burrow. “I’d go home, and spend a couple of days at home and not leave the house. 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 added.
“When you don’t take the help and guidance of others, you can be really in a low place, and I was for a few years with that. Thankfully, now I’m not afraid to go and speak to people about issues.”
Burrow, former Leeds Rhinos star, and his wife Lindsey use AI technology and a computerized voice to communicate. The duo interviewed seven sporting greats and asked seven questions on the podcast titled “Seven”.
Burrow was diagnosed with MND in 2019, Rooney commended Burrow’s approach to the disease and how he had inspired others.
“I know firsthand the impact this (illness) can have on yourself and people around you,” he said.
“Everyone must change the way of living and I had that with my sister-in-law, who suffered not the same illness but something as severe.
“But your energy and positivity helps everyone else around you. I can see the money you have raised for charity and to help others — it’s really inspiring.”