Former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has revealed that he used to drink to cope with his problems and pressure during his playing days.
The Derby County head coach Rooney said he was not prepared for the rise to elite level football as a teenager.
He started his playing career at Everton, scoring his first Premier League goal as a 16-year-old against Arsenal in 2002. Rooney then joined Man United, becoming a club legend with 253 goals, five league titles and the Uefa Champions League.
The 36-year-old, also England’s most-capped outfield player with 120 international appearances, said he struggled to deal with fame.
“To go from that to having to deal with becoming a Premier League player at 16 and an international player was something I wasn’t prepared for,” Rooney told the Daily Mail.
“I had never even thought about the other side of being a football player. I wasn’t prepared for that part of life. It took a long time for me to get used to that and figure out how to deal with it. It was like being thrown in somewhere where you are just not comfortable. That was tough for me.”
The former striker stated that his issues with drinking continued until his first son Kai was born in 2009.
“There were times you would get a couple of days off from football, and I would actually lock myself away and just drink, to try to take all that away from my mind,” added Rooney.
“People might know that I liked a drink at times or went out, but there was a lot more to it than just that. It was what was going on in my head.
“It was just a build-up of everything… the pressure of playing for your country, for United, some of the stuff which came out in the newspapers about my personal life, just trying to deal with all that pressure which builds up.”