Manchester United star Wayne Rooney will head to Switzerland with the England team today amid lurid allegations about his private life.
Just when the England football team were hoping to put behind them a series of off-field scandals that many believe contributed to their woeful performance at this year's World Cup, their star striker Wayne Rooney yesterday became the latest to face accusations about his private life.
A Sunday newspaper claimed that an escort girl claimed she repeatedly slept with Wayne Rooney while his wife, Coleen, was pregnant.
Jennifer Thompson (21), who charges her clients £1,200 (€1,400) a night, claimed that on one occasion the footballer asked her to come to his family home for intercourse, while his wife was away. She says she rejected the offer out of respect for Ms Rooney (24), who gave birth to a son, Kai, in November.
The Rooneys declined to comment on the allegations.
News of the striker's alleged misdemeanours come at a time when three England footballers already have injunctions preventing the media from publishing details of their private lives.
Before the scandal broke it was expected that Rooney would be one of the players to answer questions at a press conference yesterday.
In the end those duties fell to his teammates James Milner and Adam Johnson.
Publicist Max Clifford said as long as he keeps scoring goals the fans will not care.
Rooney is considered a vital presence in the team which takes on Switzerland in a Euro qualifier on Tuesday.
Mr Clifford said: "The only thing Wayne Rooney has to worry about is his wife, whether she, like all the others, is prepared to accept her husband's alleged infidelities.
"Nobody in football gives a monkey's as long as he's winning on the pitch.
"Man United fans love him. He could be a mass murderer as long as he's scoring goals.
"(England manager Fabio) Capello can't demote him because that would mean he couldn't play and the team needs him.
"Rival fans will have something else to shout about, but so what?"
Mr Clifford said Rooney's sponsors were also likely to stick with the player, adding: "Will it stop people drinking Tiger Beer? No. Will it stop people buying Coca Cola? No. Will it stop parents buying Nike for their children? No."
A spokesman for electronic game firm EA Sports, one of Rooney's sponsors, said yesterday: "This is a personal matter and we respect Wayne and his family's privacy.
"We have worked together for six years and Wayne continues to represent EA Sports. We will be making no further comment at this time."
Mr Clifford continued: "It's almost expected that if you are a Premier League football star you're going to be playing away.
"It's become a pantomime. It's a farce. It's as if it doesn't really matter."
The News of the World said Rooney paid more than £1,000 a time to have sex with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child.
Milner did his best to avoid questions on Rooney's state of mind, but, according to reports, the player is "devastated" by the allegations.
"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," Milner said. "You have highs, you have lows, and it's down to us to make sure the only thing that matters is on the field, to come together and make sure we get the result.
"I think it's important we go out and win matches and control ourselves on the field and off the field as best we can."