Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been discussing the frenzy caused by Wayne Rooney‘s drunken antics following England’s 3-0 win over Scotland last week.
The 31-year-old visited a wedding reception being held at the hotel where some England players were celebrating, with onlookers describing the captain as “s***faced” and “not a pretty sight.”
Pictures emerged of Rooney looking, well, a bit worse for wear, and the striker later “apologised unreservedly” for his drunken rampage.
Klopp, quite the drinker himself, believes the whole saga has been blown out of proportion.
‘These boys… this generation is the most professional generation of footballers not only in England, but England too has ever had,” he said.
“All the guys, all the legends we love and admire they 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 (who drinks). We had a Christmas party and I had to fill peoples’ glasses. I have no idea where Wayne was but I’m pretty sure it’s not really serious.
“It is the not the nice part of our life. From my point of view I don’t know much about it but I am pretty sure it is nothing.
“If they ask me six times a week “Can we go out? Can we go out?” then seven times I will say ‘no!’ We all know a few of them are doing it. Not going out but maybe having a party at home. They are young and sometimes if they don’t celebrate now it would be silly too.
“I’ve not sympathy with it but when something happens, if it happens once fine him, take his money and do something good with it for the team, for the kit man or whoever. If then he thinks about the next drink, then think ‘really?’
“I never had these problems actually but it can happen. It is not that serious. It doesn’t show anything that happens in general or with this player. 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.”
I can’t get the image of a hilariously drunk Klopp – bottle of Jaegermeister in one hand, dressed as Santa Claus – stumbling over to the bar, trying to pour some into Adam Lallana’s glass of cranberry juice. “I really shouldn’t, boss,” he says with a timid expression, looking to James Milner for some kind of help.
On a more serious note, the catalogue of derision aimed at Rooney has been – like most tabloid stories – taken too far. Some people, as Klopp notes, forget that footballers – for all their fame, celebrity lifestyles and superb capabilities on the pitch – are also human beings just like us. And like us, Rooney enjoys getting ‘s***faced’ every now and again. Should be pilloried for that?