- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

LONDON (AP) - Handed the captaincy of England and Manchester United, Wayne Rooney curbed his once wild behavior that landed him in trouble.

But at 31, and as a father-of-three, Rooney’s conduct is under scrutiny again.

Once again, he has been forced to issue an apology just as he is struggling to hold a place in United and England starting lineups.

The statement of contrition to the England management and fans came after Rooney dropped into a wedding taking place at the England team hotel on Saturday night. Pictures of the bleary-eyed striker were published with guests.

Rooney, who played in Friday’s World Cup qualifying win over Scotland, was off duty at the time but the behavior of England’s all-time top scorer is still troubling the team management.

Rooney acknowledged the Football Association’s concerns.

“Naturally Wayne is sorry that pictures taken with fans have been published today,” Rooney’s management team said in response to a front-page story in The Sun newspaper. “Although it was a day off for the whole squad and staff, he fully recognizes that the images are inappropriate for someone in his position.

“Earlier today Wayne spoke privately to both (interim manager) Gareth Southgate and (technical director) Dan Ashworth to unreservedly apologize. He would like to further extend that apology to any young fans who have seen these pictures.”

When asked about the pictures after Tuesday’s draw with Spain, Southgate insisted Rooney’s absence from the friendly was due to an injury sustained in Friday’s win over Scotland rather than being the result of The Sun’s story.

But the FA said on Wednesday: “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.”

Rooney has endured a checkered career. Once the golden boy of English soccer who burst onto the international scene with four goals at Euro 2004, Rooney’s impact has been on the wane as age has slowed him.

Rooney has also struggled to shake off his bad-boy image.

Rooney’s stock fell so low that an English town burned a 30-foot effigy of him in 2010 after he was accused of cheating on his wife with a prostitute and publicly threatened to quit United. In the same year, then-England manager Fabio 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.

His temper has caused problems on the field. He was sent off for stamping on a Portugal player at the 2010 World Cup and vented to pitch-side cameras at the 2010 World Cup and while playing for United in 2011 which earned him a two-match ban.


Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

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