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Saturday 10 December 2016

Legends 'drank like devils' says Klopp in defence of Rooney

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes whatever England captain Wayne Rooney did on a night off was "not really serious" and said all the game's greats "drank like devils and smoked like crazy".

Rooney (below) has ''unreservedly'' apologised to interim England manager Gareth Southgate, the Football Association and football supporters in general following the emergence of ''inappropriate'' images from The Grove hotel on Saturday night.

It is alleged Rooney dropped in on a wedding party, with the Sun newspaper printing a photo appearing to show the Manchester United forward, wearing an England training top, looking the worse for wear.

Press Association Sport understands figures within the FA were disappointed by the incident, with all those involved that evening being spoken to.

The governing body has confirmed that overnight free time, which has been in place for a number of years, will now be reviewed.

Wayne Rooney. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Wayne Rooney. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Reds boss Klopp, however, feels a sense of perspective is needed.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League match at Southampton, the German said: "I feel really for the players.

"I know we're all on the sunny side of life, we earn a lot of money and do the job we love, but at the end maybe it comes as a surprise that we are also human beings too.

"Sometimes we're invited to weddings, birthdays or whatever and we can play the professional role still: 'No, we don't drink. If you smoke please stand 20 yards away because I don't want to be a passive smoker'. That is not how life works.

"These boys, this generation, is the most professional generation of footballers - not only in England, but England, too, that there has ever been.

"All the guys, all the legends we love and admire they drank like devils and smoked like crazy, but they were still good players. No one does it any more. I don't know anyone now.

"We had a Christmas party and I had to fill people's glasses. It's about timing - when you are in the wrong time at the wrong place it's not good as a professional.

"I have no idea where Wayne was, but I'm pretty sure it's not really serious."

Klopp continued: "It is not the nice part of our life. Our life sounds like a big catastrophe when things are not perfect. But it's not like that.

"Sometimes it is good to have a situation like this, you can fine the player and do something good with the money.

"From my point of view I don't know much about it, but I am pretty sure it is nothing.

"The German national team were in Rome and I saw some pictures of them in a restaurant. They had no glass in their hand, but do you think they didn't drink? That's how it is.

"We live life under a glass. We know it most of the time and we function, but sometimes not. In one, two, three weeks no one will remember what happened so why make a big thing of it?"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has transformed the culture at the north London club over the past 20 years, also feels the current generation on the whole look after themselves well.

He said at a press conference: "We have all been young, we have not all been angels at 20, 21, but overall I believe it is part of youth to make mistakes.

"After that (players should) analyse well and all the big players who made big careers have that quality. They have good assessment.

"All big players make mistakes, but after they have a good assessment of the situation and you address it in a positive way."

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