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Wayne Rooney To Stay With England Despite Sex Scandal

WATFORD, England : England striker Wayne Rooney will travel to Switzerland as planned for the team's European Championship qualifier, despite allegations of a sex scandal splashed across Sunday's British tabloids. Rooney trained as normal with
PTI September 06, 2010 13:38 IST
PTI
WATFORD, England : England striker Wayne Rooney will travel to Switzerland as planned for the team's European Championship qualifier, despite allegations of a sex scandal splashed across Sunday's British tabloids.

Rooney trained as normal with his England teammates on Sunday morning _ hours after the News of the World and Sunday Mirror alleged that the Manchester United player cheated repeatedly on his then-pregnant wife last year with a prostitute.

According to the Sunday Mirror, the affair with 21-year-old Jenny Thompson began last June and their last meeting in Manchester was in October, a month before Rooney's wife Coleen gave birth to their first son Kai.

This is the second time this year that England coach Fabio Capello has had to deal with the fallout of lurid allegations against one of his players.

Capello stripped John Terry of the captaincy in February after newspaper allegations that the defender had an affair with England teammate Wayne Bridge's former partner.

Capello complained that Terry was not setting "an example for the young people _ for the children and the fans."

The Rooneys, who married in 2008, have cultivated their fame to become one of Britain's leading celebrity couples. Coleen has her own TV series and magazine column and is considered a fashion icon.

There was no comment on the latest allegations from the Football Association or Manchester United, but the Premier League club is willing to provide support to Rooney.

The FA insisted that it is "business as usual" and that Rooney would remain at the team hotel, before flying with the rest of the squad to Switzerland on Monday for Tuesday night's qualifier.

"He did the full session (on Sunday morning)," winger James Milner told reporters at the team hotel near London. "We had our full training session and back to football is what we're here to do."

Rooney played a part in all four goals on Friday night as England began its Euro 2012 qualification campaign with a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley.

"He's a top, top player and we want to put out the strongest team possible," Milner said.

Rooney hasn't scored for England since last September and endured a lackluster World Cup as England was eliminated in the second round.

England fans have turned on the underperforming players since the South Africa letdown, with Rooney booed at times during Friday's match.

"It's important we go out and win football matches and control ourselves on the field and off the field as best we can," Milner said. "Things are always said in the paper, good things, bad things about the England team when results are going well and when they're not going well."

However, Milner fears prolonged negative coverage could prompt some players to quit the international scene.

"Some people might turn round and say, 'I have had enough, I don't need that,"' the Manchester City player said. "Obviously thousands of people come every week and there are kids with your name on the back of their shirt.

"They obviously look up to you so you try to set standards on and off the field. We are very privileged to be representing this country and whatever job you do there will be things you like and things you don't."

After the Terry scandal, Capello warned the players that their England futures would be in jeopardy if their conduct off the pitch landed them in the media spotlight.

Asked at the time what would happen to players who stepped out of line after he drew up a new code of conduct, Capello said: "The players have to understand what I want if you want to stay with me."

The 24-year-old Rooney has regularly featured in the papers for the wrong reasons.

In 2004, he admitted to paying for sex following a previous tabloid expose into his visits to massage parlors in his native Liverpool. And last month, Capello warned Rooney about his off-field conduct after he was pictured urinating and smoking in the street at the end of a night out.

Just after that warning, Rooney insisted that he had curbed his previous excesses since becoming a father.

"When I first joined Manchester United (in 2004) I used to go out to nightclubs but it is very rare that I would go out to a nightclub now," Rooney said in March. "It changes with age, of course, but I made that decision myself. I got into a few things that I shouldn't have and I tried to change that. I am settled at home now."

Rooney accepted his responsibilities as the England team's biggest current star.

"It is difficult as a footballer because you know people look up to you _ you are role models whether you like it or not," Rooney said. "You need to try and be aware of that, try and do your best on the pitch, and try to do things well for kids to see."  AP