Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney is widely recognised as one of the greatest English players of all time.
As the current record United goalscorer, and once holding the record national team goalscorer accolade, one can hardly say he didn’t reach his potential.
However, when he broke out, he looked destined to become one of the greatest footballers, period.
In an interview with rugby legend Rob Burrows, Rooney has lifted the lid on the challenges he faced after being earmarked for greatness at such a young age.
He said that alcohol became his release as struggled to cope with the challenges thrown at him, both on and off the pitch during his career.
He was reticent to talk about his problems with others due to the fear of embarrassment and the feeling of letting them down.
Rooney revealed that his drinking problem reached such a serious stage that at times, he would keep drinking till he couldn’t move out of the house and just passed out.
“I’ve had many different challenges, both on the pitch and off the pitch, and my release was alcohol.
“When I was in my early 20s, I’d spend a couple of days at home and wouldn’t move out of the house and drink almost until I passed out.
“I didn’t want to be around people because sometimes you feel embarrassed and sometimes you feel like you’ve let people down.
“Ultimately I didn’t know how else to deal with it, so I chose alcohol to try and help me get through that,” the Birmingham City boss said.
Rooney went on to say that now he has matured as a person and isn’t afraid to speak out about his issues and seek help instead of suffering alone.
It has helped him get away from the low place he was in due to his drinking problems.
“There were people there for me to speak to but I chose not to do that and tried to deal with it myself.
“When you do that and don’t take the help and guidance of others, you can really be in a low place and I was for a few years with that.
“Thankfully now I am not afraid to go and speak to people over some issues which I may have,” he said.
Rooney’s words could hopefully work as an encouragement for people going through something similar so they can seek help instead of suffering alone.