Wayne Rooney found himself in the headlines yet again last week, after being charged with drink-driving at the weekend.
Having retired from England duty, Rooney had a couple of weeks off from playing, so decided to go out for a few drinks.
There’s no crime in that, of course, even if managers would probably prefer that their players kept themselves in peak condition, particularly given the season has just started.
Rooney has had a couple of months to go out boozing with his mates, if that’s what he wanted to do, so maybe it was ill advised to over indulge just three games in to the season. But hey, who are we to judge?
People are entitled to be more upset about Rooney’s decision to get behind the wheel though. If he wants to endanger his own life through reckless behaviour that’s totally up to him, but it’s a different matter when he’s risking the lives of others.
Yet once people had got over criticising his poor judgement and the police confirmed his charge, questions were being asked about the car he was driving? Why on earth would a footballer worth millions be driving around in a Beetle?
Arrested for drink driving in a VW Beetle, Wayne Rooney is supposed to be an "England legend", an "inspiration", a "role model"
A VW BEETLE? pic.twitter.com/242IjN8VyX
— Alan Mehdizadeh (@alanmehdizadeh) September 1, 2017
With no official statement from the Rooneys, a woman sold her story on the former Manchester United and England captain. She claimed they had been kissing and were on their way back to her house for sex when they got pulled over. She also says she had texts from one of his mates threatening her if she went to the papers.
The reaction on social media was largely fairly odd. There were lots of people who were targeting the woman from the bar, saying she trapped Rooney, that she was a slag and attacking her for making money by telling a newspaper what happened.
Then there was the camp of people laying in to Rooney’s wife Coleen, claiming she deserved it or they didn’t feel sorry for her, because she took him back in the past. I mean, wow. The first time she was 15 and they weren’t even having sex with each other back then. The second time she was pregnant with her first child and understandably didn’t want to be alone or see her son brought up in a house without his dad. That’s OK, isn’t it?
Well, it might not be OK for you, and that’s fair enough, but it certainly doesn’t mean she was asking for it or that Rooney is excused from doing it again.
People cheat on their husbands and their wives. It’s not illegal. It happens all the time. Drink driving, on the other hand, is against the law and it can kill people. I understand why one action outweighs the other.
It’s difficult to grasp how little ill-feeling Rooney cheating on his pregnant wife, again, courted from the public and the media though. Maybe because it’s just what we expect from footballers and maybe it’s not any of our business.
There’s just something so seedy and gross about doing this to the pregnant mother of your children, especially when the chances of it getting out in the public and humiliating her are pretty high.
People will claim that footballers didn’t ask to be heroes or role models, they just wanted to play football. It’s undeniable that while some players might be motivated largely by fame, Rooney loves the sport.
Yet when you earn millions of pounds a year and have been chosen to wear the armband for England, maybe part of the pay off is that you can’t act like a dick anymore. You have to rein in your behaviour a bit.
The timing of the story is bad for Rooney, just as he was riding the wave of returning to his boyhood club. He even managed to make the red three-quarters of Manchester happy when scoring for Everton at the Etihad against City a few weeks ago.
Yet, there are likely some worried fans on Merseyside who are wondering whether Rooney will be able to curb his off field fancies for the sake of the team.
It may all seem a bit easy for him now, welcomed back like the Prodigal Son, as if he hadn’t spent the past 13 years kissing United’s badge at Goodison Park.
Being out until 2am looking for a girl to get off with feels like the behaviour of a footballer from the 1980’s. Times have changed and players look after themselves better now in order to stay at the top level.
While I’m not entirely convinced that Rooney would have ever superseded Cristiano Ronaldo’s career anyway, there’s no doubt that the England man was the brighter talent when they were younger. One of them worked hard on their fitness and trained tirelessly, winning three Champions League titles and four Ballon d’Ors.
The other is appearing in court later this month having returned to Everton, watching his old teammate still bang in the goals for the current best team in the world.
Still, whatever their take on Rooney’s behaviour, United fans have another reason to be glad he’s gone.
Drink driving is no laughing matter (unless you’re Roberto Firmino and then we can laugh at your driving ban with a witty “The Drinks Are On Me!” headline) and no supporters want to see their captain getting in to trouble like that.
United supporters needn’t fret. Michael Carrick is possibly the blandest man on the planet, so they shouldn’t have any worries there.
Rooney has reverted to type, and with just a couple of years left of his playing career, you would think he might want to do all he can to sustain his legacy. Either way, he’s not United’s problem anymore.