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Thursday 8 December 2016

Rooney 'sorry' for hotel binge

Wayne Rooney apologises over ‘inappropriate’ snaps
Wayne Rooney apologises over ‘inappropriate’ snaps
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho will face questions about Wayne Rooney tomorrow.

England captain Wayne Rooney has "unreservedly" apologised to interim manager Gareth Southgate and English Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth, admitting images taken of him over the weekend were "inappropriate for someone in his position".

The 31-year-old started England's World Cup qualifying win against Scotland on Friday, but a minor knee injury saw him withdraw from the squad to face Spain.

Interim England boss Southgate was forced to deny after Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Spain that Rooney's absence was anything to do with images that emerged from The Grove hotel on Saturday night.

A British newspaper alleged that Rooney dropped in on a wedding party, with the paper printing a photo appearing to show the Manchester United forward, sporting an England training top, looking the worse for wear. In a statement issued on Rooney's behalf last night, the player's spokesperson said: "Naturally Wayne is sorry that pictures taken with fans have been published today. Although it was a day off for the whole squad and staff, he fully recognises that the images are inappropriate for someone in his position.

"Earlier today Wayne spoke privately to both Gareth Southgate and Dan Ashworth to unreservedly apologise.

"He would like to further extend that apology to any young fans who have seen these pictures."

Figures within the English FA are understood to be disappointed by what has emerged and overnight free time - in place for a number of years - will now be reviewed.

An English FA spokesperson said: "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 been spoken to about the incident and it is understood everyone else involved has or will be. Matters will be dealt with internally in terms of repercussions, with the players' code of conduct introduced in 2012 still in place.

It remains to be seen what United make of the incident, with manager Jose Mourinho set to address the media tomorrow at a press conference previewing the Premier League clash with Arsenal. Rooney has endured a tough campaign, finding himself in the unusual situation of fighting for his place in the team.

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The 31-year-old ended his 81-day goal drought in the recent Europa League clash at Fenerbahce and impressed as United headed into the international break with a 3-1 win at Swansea. Rooney dropped to the bench in last month's qualifier in Slovenia, but returned to the starting line-up as Scotland were beaten 3-0 at Wembley.

United return to action on Saturday lunchtime against Arsenal, before hosting Feyenoord in the Europa League.

Meanwhile, the English FA has revealed Mourinho's comments before the Premier League match against Liverpool last month about Anthony Taylor that landed him a fine were deemed to have brought "an additional layer of pressure" upon the referee and created a "sword of Damocles situation".

The remarks Manchester United boss Mourinho made about Taylor last month led to him being fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct.

That led to the Portuguese being handed a misconduct charge by the FA, with it being alleged his remarks were improper and/or brought the game into disrepute. Mourinho accepted his comments constituted improper conduct but denied they brought the game into disrepute.

An independent regulatory commission subsequently found the disrepute element of the charge proven, with the fine and warning then following, and the written reasons behind the decision have now been published.

In the document detailing those reasons, it says of the commission's view on the matter: "This opinion, his opinion, was that he felt it would be difficult for Anthony Taylor to have a very good performance. There was no need for Mr Mourinho to be drawn into offering an opinion. The regulatory commission considered this opinion to bring an additional layer of pressure and implication onto the referee which could have had a negative impact on the game."

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