London: Under-fire Manchester United and England football captain Wayne Rooney has found support from Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp after his recent late-night drunken antics at a hotel.
Rooney has been under intense scrutiny after pictures of a drunk Rooney partying at a hotel during his national commitments surfaced recently. But Klopp said that it was a one-off incident and modern professional footballers are very particular about what they eat and drink.
“All the legends we love and admire drank like devils and smoked like crazy. What I can say is I feel really for the players,” the Liverpool manager was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Thursday.
“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’, or ‘if you smoke please stand 20 yards away because I don’t want to be a passive smoker’. That is not how life works,” he added.
“This generation is the most professional generation of footballers not only in England, but England has ever had. All the guys, all the legends we love and admire 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 (after losing against Watford in December last year) and I had to fill people’s glasses. It’s about timing — when you are in the wrong time at the wrong place and it’s not good as a professional. I have no idea where Wayne was but I’m pretty sure it’s not really serious. It is the not nice part of our life.”
Klopp said he knew the pressure on Rooney as he has met the same fate when he was manager of German side Mainz in 2006. His team were bottom of the Bundesliga at the Christmas break but Klopp was pictured partying with friends, sporting a Santa Claus mask, for which he was criticised.
Klopp’s thoughts were echoed by Everton manager Ronald Koeman who has spoken to his captain Phil Jagielka after he was photographed on the night out with Rooney.
“I spoke to Phil this morning not only about this but about other aspects of football,” Koeman said.
“He was there and he had a drink, but it was after the match and the behaviour of Phil was not bad. Everyone has to understand how dangerous social media is.”
“You have to always be an example to young people as a football professional but that is my opinion in general. It happened more 25 years ago than it does now but there was not social media then.”