Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Rooney 'happy to play' amid claims

Footballer Wayne Rooney pictured with his wife Coleen
Rooneyis happy to play despite allegations over his private life, said Fabio Capello
Wayne Rooney boards a plane as the England team heads to Switzerland for a Euro qualifier

Wayne Rooney is "happy to play" for England despite lurid headlines about his private life, manager Fabio Capello has said.

The player flew to Switzerland with the squad on Monday following allegations that he had sex with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child.

At a press conference in Basel, Capello insisted that all the players remained "focused on the game" ahead of the Euro qualifier.

Rooney, 24, who appeared grim-faced as he jetted off with the rest of the team from Luton Airport, has so far made no comment about the allegations.

But ahead of the second qualifier in the group stage, Capello suggested that the claims would not affect his game.

The 64-year-old Italian said: "He told me he is ready to play, he wants to play and I'm sure that he will play."

The England team manager added: "I spoke to him and he is happy to play."

Asked about the impact on the team ahead of the match, Capello said: "We are focused on the game, not about the private lives of the players."

England captain Steven Gerrard gave his support to Rooney. The Liverpool midfielder said of his international team-mate: "Wayne is a big character. I have known him for a long time, he loves playing football. Yeah, he has an issue off the pitch but that will not stop him playing well."

Gerrard continued: "I think every player does understand the responsibility of being a footballer at the top level. On the other hand, we are human as well and along the way we are going to make mistakes. I have made some throughout my career, we are human as well. It is just how you react to those mistakes."

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