Wayne Rooney has claimed the reaction to his late-night conduct on England duty has been “disgraceful” and vowed he is “not finished yet”.
The 31-year-old has dominated the headlines since pictures emerged showing the Three Lions skipper, complete in training kit, looking the worse for wear during the international break.
Rooney was reported by The Sun to have been up until the early hours last Sunday at a wedding in The Grove hotel, leading the forward to “unreservedly” apologise to interim boss Gareth Southgate, the Football Association and young fans.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn has promised a “proper investigation as to what went on”, and Rooney has now expressed his anger at the way things have played out.
“It feels as if the media are trying to write my obituary and I won’t let that happen,” Rooney said.
“I love playing for my country and I am proud of my achievements to date – but I have not finished yet.”
Rooney added “what’s been going on is disgraceful”, saying the treatment shows “a lack of respect” and that “enough is enough”.
A source close to Rooney told Press Association Sport that the player deeply regrets that the pictures were taken, with the episode underlining that he needs to be more careful when engaging with the public.
The England skipper is said to fully understand the responsibility and privilege of a role that he believes he respects, from doing media, charity and ambassadorial work, to working with the manager and his team-mates.
Rooney appeared to harness the anger as Manchester United on Saturday, producing a decent display as a second-half substitute in the ultimately disappointing 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Back from a minor knee injury, manager Jose Mourinho spoke of the week’s impact on the forward in the pre-match press conference.
“I am not saying he is affected,” the United boss said. “I am saying that I think even if you have or if you build a kind of wall around you to try to feel protected from what people write about you or think about you, the comments people make about you, even if you tried to build that wall, the wall has always points of fragility.
“It has always some little holes and we are not still.
“We are flesh and blood so I think it has an effect. It has an effect.”
Asked if Rooney should have been at the hotel bar until the early hours, Mourinho said: “I would have a great answer for you – I don’t want to have (one) because, again, I don’t want to speak about it.
“But if you go one by one to see where these 23 players were, some of them were in worse places than the hotel bar.”