England players are often allowed to leave the team’s headquarters during training camps to ensure individuals can enjoy some down time before fixtures — but that protocol has now been quashed as a result of last weekend’s partying.
Indeed, Sportsmail can reveal that several members of the England squad — not including Rooney — headed into London on Saturday night ahead of the following day’s scheduled training session to prepare for the clash against Spain.
A report published in The Sun on Tuesday, the day of the game, accused the England captain of gatecrashing a wedding at the team hotel on Saturday night where the Manchester United star is alleged to have been intoxicated hours before he was due to train. Photographs
of Rooney looking worse for wear at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire appeared in the same publication yesterday morning.
And Rooney was last night left with no option but to say sorry for his behaviour. ‘Naturally Wayne is sorry that pictures taken with fans have been published today,’ said a spokesman for the 31-year-old.
‘Although it was a day off for the whole squad and staff, he fully recognises that the images are inappropriate for someone in his position. Earlier today Wayne spoke privately to both Gareth Southgate and Dan Ashworth to unreservedly apologise.
‘He would like to further extend that apology to any young fans who have seen those pictures.’
The FA stopped short of stripping Rooney of the England captaincy or issuing him with a formal warning. But he was warned about his future conduct in no uncertain terms during a phone call with Ashworth, the FA’s head of elite development.
Rooney’s apology will not prevent the FA from imposing strict new guidelines for players called up for international duty after this serious breach of the players’ code of conduct. Players will no longer be permitted to spend the night away from the team hotel, even on a non-training day. Instead they will be expected to report back to the England base every night while on international duty. They can leave the base, for example to play golf or see family, but must return before curfew.
Rooney was one of up to five players who chose to stay at The Grove on Saturday night. But he landed in hot water by choosing to spend much of the night drinking.
Sportsmail understands members of Southgate’s backroom team accompanied Rooney during his drinking session.
The majority of Rooney’s team-mates spent the night away from the team headquarters — a clutch of them preferring to head into central London while others spent the evening with their families.
The FA said they were aware that England players had chosen to stay in London on Saturday night but were unaware that some had visited a nightclub.
Rooney was a doubt for Sunday’s training session, having sustained a knee injury in the win over Scotland on Friday night — but he had not been excused from training by Southgate, whose term as interim England manager ended after the 2-2 draw against Spain on Tuesday.
The United captain is hopeful of proving his fitness to Jose Mourinho in time for Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League clash against Arsenal. But the United boss is said to be furious that members of England’s backroom team were present during Rooney’s drunken antics.
An FA spokesperson said: ‘All England personnel have a responsibility to behave appropriately at all times. We will be reviewing our policy around free time whilst on international duty.’
Original source: England players pay for Rooney’s drunken antics