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Wayne Rooney reveals his hardship surrounding his intense drinking habits to cope with fame

Manchester United record goalscorer Wayne Rooney reveals how he had to resort to drinking to deal with the fame and expectations during his early life. How did he overcome?

Wayne Rooney, England’s all-time record goalscorer, in his recent interview revealed that he went through difficult times with his drinking problem. The former Manchester United striker, 36, opened up about two-day “self-binges” in the early days of his career as he struggled with the exposure that accompanied becoming England’s record goalscorer after growing up on a Liverpool council estate.

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“To go from that to having to deal with becoming a Premier League player at 16 and an international player was something I wasn’t prepared for,” Wayne Rooney told the Mail on Sunday before the launch of an Amazon Prime documentary about his life.

Wayne Rooney, who went on to win the Premier League five times, says he “made a lot of mistakes” as a young player and that drinking was his main way of coping.

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“In my early years at Manchester United, probably until we had my first son, Kai, I locked myself away really. I never went out,” Rooney told the two newspapers.

“There were times you’d get a couple of days off from football and I would actually lock myself away and just drink, to try to take all that away from my mind.

“People might know that I liked a drink at times or went out but there was a lot more to it than just that. It was what was going on in my head.”

Wayne Rooney made his Premier League debut at 16 for Everton, played and scored for England at 17 and hit a Champions League hat-trick on his debut for Manchester United at 18 after a £27m move.

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“It was just a build-up of everything… pressure of playing for your country, playing for Manchester United, the pressure of some of the stuff which came out in the newspapers about my personal life, just trying to deal with all that pressure which builds up.

“I was trying to figure out how to deal with it by myself. Growing up on a council estate, you would never actually go and speak to anyone. You would always find a way to deal with it yourself. It was trying to cope with it yourself rather than asking for help.”

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Wayne Rooney’s path back to overcome his problems

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Wayne Rooney said he had learned different coping mechanisms to manage his anger over the years, by sensing when an “explosion” coming and that he “needed to sit down and talk to someone”.

“Over the last 15 years, I haven’t had very many nights out. I might have had 10 nights out, but the ones I have had … four or five of them have given people big exclusives,” he said.

It would have been impossible to share his feelings in the United dressing room at the time but players were now “more empowered” to speak about mental health issues, he said.

“Growing up on a council estate, you would never actually go and speak to anyone. You would always find a way to deal with it yourself. It was trying to cope with it yourself rather than asking for help.”

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