Denis Irwin: Wayne Rooney has to live his life in a fish bowl
Irwin highlights scrutiny star is under as 'Pool loom
Technology has placed Premier League stars like Wayne Rooney under a greater scrutiny than their predecessors ever experienced, admits former Manchester United full-back Denis Irwin.
A British newspaper published footage at the weekend of Rooney apparently being knocked out in a sparring session with former United team-mate Phil Bardsley in the kitchen of his Cheshire mansion.
The England forward then performed a light-hearted re-enactment of the incident after scoring for United against Tottenham on the same day and after the match admitted his surprise that something which had happened in the privacy of his own home had become public knowledge.
Irwin said: "Back in my day you had to be mentally strong but even more so nowadays because you are in a goldfish bowl.
"When you are a player here you know someone is after your place, whether it is a young lad or someone being linked in the papers, and you have to be mentally strong to handle that as well.
"There is more social media nowadays and the players are even more in a goldfish bowl than even in my days."
Games do not come any more important for United than their next match against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers' side are the form team, having taken 33 points from the last 39 available in an unbeaten run stretching back to their defeat to United in mid-December.
Liverpool are only two points behind fourth-placed United and the game is being billed as the chance for the Merseysiders to claim the initiative in the race for Champions League qualification but Irwin's former United team-mate Byran Robson believes the opposite is also true. Robson said: "United have to be on the front foot thinking 'If we win this game it will make it more difficult for Liverpool'."