Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney said he was hurting and was “only a human being” in his first comments since being accused of cheating on his then-pregnant wife with a sex worker.
Rooney has struggled to make an impact for United since the alleged infidelities emerged in newspapers last month and he has failed to score for the English Premier League club from open play all season.
Asked if the sex scandal has affected his form, Rooney told Sky Sports: “I can’t say yes and I can’t say no because obviously it has been a hard time. I just need to try to get back to doing what I do best and playing football the way I can do.
“I’m only a human being — I hurt as well, but I need to get through this and back playing football the way I know I can do and I’m sure everything else will settle down after that.”
United manager Alex Ferguson dropped Rooney when the allegations first emerged, claiming that he was protecting his England forward from fan-abuse at former club Everton.
Ferguson ruled the 24-year-old Rooney out of Wednesday’s Champions League match and Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Sunderland in the Premier League due to an ankle injury despite the player insisting he will be “100%” fit to play for England on October 12.
“Obviously there are people around you who try to help you and want you to do well,” Rooney said. “But at the end of the day it comes down to yourself.”
England coach Fabio Capello has no qualms about including Rooney in the squad on Monday for the October 12 European Championship qualifier against Montenegro.
For the 64-year-old Capello the media storm surrounding players’ private lives is nothing new.
“I think at this moment, when you play [if you have private problems] it is better because you are focused on the game and training,” the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach said. “Some suffer with it, for others it is normal and they are able to separate the two and cope better. I remember I had some players with big problems but we won …
“Before there were the same problems every year — in Italy, Spain and the world. It is young people, young men with a lot of money. A lot of money is sometimes one problem, a positive problem. Sometimes.”
Capello is not concerned about Rooney’s failure to score for United this season apart from a penalty kick, having seen the striker end his yearlong goal drought during England’s 3-1 win over Switzerland in Euro 2012 qualifying last month.
“I know I can play better, so I’m hoping to get a consistent run of games in the [Manchester United] team,” Rooney said. “If I do that, I’m sure my form will be back to its best.
“When you’re not playing at your best, you need to just continue playing and doing the simple things, then your form will come good.” – Sapa-AP