Wayne Rooney has revealed how he ‘struggled to cover up tough periods’ in his life and would ‘react wrongly’ while playing for Manchester United and England in a new documentary.
Speaking in the documentary Rooney, to be screened on Amazon Prime early next year, the Derby manager, 35, said he wanted to give viewers ‘a real insight into what was going on inside my head’ throughout a colourful career.
The father-of-four admitted he found trying to manage difficult periods in his life was lonely and ‘tough’, often leading to ‘reactions’ on the pitch.
Confessing ‘a lot of times you see reactions from me which are wrong’, he said: ‘When you’re going through a tough period behind the scenes, there’s not many people who knew.’
According to The Sun, he continued: ‘My wife, my parents, Coleen’s parents … who knows what you’re going through at the time.
‘But it’s hard to actually cover that up when you’re going into work — you’re around your teammates, you’re around your manager. So it was tough at times.’
Wayne has claimed no subjects were off limits for the TV series, which took 15 months to make.
Elsewhere in the documentary, Wayne revealed he sought help over mental health to cope with the pressure of playing.
‘People talk about mental health, I did see someone at times,’ said Rooney, who remains United and England’s all-time leading goal scorer.
‘It is about realising what was going through your head and trying to cope with the pressure of playing for Manchester United and trying to be successful — playing for your country, then captaining your country and taking a lot of that pressure on as well.
‘Getting thrown into the spotlight as a 16-year-old and having to deal with everything that comes with playing for your country at 17 was all new to me. I was learning on my feet and of course there were some mistakes along the way.
‘Throughout a young sportsperson’s life, they go through difficult periods and there is a lot of me talking about moments where I was really down, I didn’t want to be around anyone.’
One of Rooney’s lowest points was his red card at the 2006 World Cup, when United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of trying to get him sent off for stamping on Portugal’s Ricardo Carvalho.
‘What is interesting to know is what was going on inside my head after the red card,’ added Rooney.
‘I was sitting in the dressing room alone, knowing you are potentially out of the World Cup — but also knowing on the flip side that if you do qualify, you are going to be out of the semi-final and possibly final if you go through.
‘It is that thought process of what is going through your head at such a young age, knowing that either way you have let your country down, let yourself down. It will be interesting to see.’
In clips from the documentary, Rooney’s wife Coleen addresses allegations over his private life, saying: ‘I forgive him, but it wasn’t acceptable.’
Rooney adds: ‘People still look at me in a different way. For me it’s important that people remember me for who I am rather than what I’ve done.’
The documentary charts Rooney’s tough upbringing on a council estate in Croxteth that helped forge his combative style on the pitch. He admits getting into fights with his father Thomas.
‘I was brought up to fight for my place to play, fight for everything. That will never leave me,’ said Rooney.
‘I wasn’t the nicest kid. I had a lot of fights when I was younger. I’ve had full-on arguments with my dad and he would give me a slap.’
Meanwhile, United confirmed yesterday that Raphael Varane will be out of action for ‘a few weeks’ after sustaining a groin muscle injury in France’s win over Spain in the Nations League final on Sunday.
Varane is set to miss a crucial run of fixtures in the Premier League and Champions League for United, who are also likely to be without his central defensive partner Harry Maguire for Saturday’s trip to Leicester.