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19th Nov 2016

Has Jamie Carragher accidentally landed Wayne Rooney in it with this nightclub anecdote?

He was recalling the first time they met


Jamie Carragher has summed up what any sensible person would have thought when they saw the furore that followed Wayne Rooney’s nigh-on villainous behaviour while on international duty.

Imagine it. A grown man. Drunk!

A human adult, a day removed from a victory in a game of ball-kicking, had the downright gall to have a few drinks and stayed up way past his bedtime.

It’s a wonder he’s not been locked up.

But Rooney may as well have judging by the media outcry and grovelling apologies that came from the England captain’s camp.

When one breaks down his behaviour to its basic facts, it seems absolutely bizarre that he been so vilified and former England teammate Jamie Carragher admits that the backlash has been more than a little excessive as the Liverpool legend named Rooney as his Man of the Week – although has Carra inadvertently landed his mate in it with this anecdote?

“He has had to contend with a week of being headline news, but it is no secret that Wayne likes a drink, as I can testify about the first time I met him,” Carragher writes in his Daily Mail column.

“It was 2002 and I was in a nightclub in Liverpool. Wayne was just about to make his debut for Everton but he was full of confidence and he told me with absolute certainty what he was going to do to me in his first derby game!”

Only one problem with that, though: Rooney did not turn 18 until October 2003 – so although he may not have been breaking any rules by being in the club, he certainly wouldn’t have been of legal drinking age. Still, we won’t tell anyone if you don’t Carra (or write it in a national newspaper column…).

LIVERPOOL - DECEMBER 22: Wayne Rooney of Everton holds off Jamie Carragher of Liverpool during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Liverpool and Everton held on December 22, 2002 at Anfield in Liverpool, England. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (Photo Michael Steele/Getty Images)(Photo Michael Steele/Getty Images)


Carragher continues: “It’s been 14 years since that meeting but, with five Premier League titles, the FA Cup, a Champions League and 119 England caps, he hasn’t done too badly, has he?

“I think some of the coverage about him has been way over the top — he had a week until his next game — but the scrutiny shows the world we now live in.

“Critics have called him a throwback to a different era in recent days and while it is true that Wayne is not a sport scientist’s dream, the thing we have loved him for on the pitch during his career is for that very fact: he is a throwback and does things off the cuff.

“This story will come up again, no doubt, in the future and just think: if he is ever wondering what to do after football, he will at least have a fantastic time on the after-dinner circuit!”

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