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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 9, 2006

PFA offer to help Rooney with '£700k debts'

Players' union bosses will be in contact with Wayne Rooney's advisors early this week to offer any assistance required over the England star's reported £700,000 gambling debt.

Professional Footballers Association deputy chief executive Mick McGuire is anxious not to make rash statements on the Rooney situation.

But he has admitted it would be 'a concern' to his organisation if the 20-year-old's losses are as significant as it is claimed.

McGuire is yet to speak to the Rooney camp over the stories, but it will be one of his first priorities when he gets back behind his desk this week.

'If these claims are true, then it would be a concern to us,' said McGuire.

'Not withstanding his salary levels, it would be a concern if any member of our organisation accrued a debt of this size.

'I know Wayne well and know he has excellent support structures around him, both in terms of his advisors and Manchester United as a club.

'But we will be in touch with his advisors early in the week to see if there is any truth in what has been reported and if there is anything we can do to help.'

Rooney can also expect a call from England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, particularly as it is claimed the debt arose during gambling stints while the striker was on duty with the national side.

It is said that several of Rooney's England team-mates have also embarked on heavy gambling stints, although none have built up losses to such an extreme figure.

Eriksson's task - through informal chats - will be to determine whether any issues have arisen between players as a consequence.

If it does transpire there is unrest, the Swede would seek to nip the problem in the bud, given only five weeks remain until England's World Cup squad travel to southern Portugal for a pre-tournament training camp.

The Football Association's director of communications, Adrian Bevington, stressed there was no obvious sign of disenchantment among the squad.

'The FA would like to make it clear we are unaware of any problems in the England team dressing room due to issues surrounding gambling or anything else come to that,' said Bevington.

'Under Sven the England team have enjoyed a fantastic spirit within the camp, a fact that is regularly made by the players publicly.

'This spirit has ensured qualification to three consecutive tournaments.

'However, on being made aware of these allegations by the Sunday Mirror we believe England head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will speak to the players allegedly involved to clarify the facts.

'It's important the fans know everyone connected to the FA and the England team is determined to do all they can to achieve success in Germany this summer.'

Rooney's management company, Proactive, have refused to discuss the allegations, while McGuire is keen to play down the effect they have on the youngster's status as a role model.

'There is a concern, both over Wayne's situation and the message it sends out, but you have to keep things in perspective,' said McGuire.

'As a football player, Wayne has matured unbelievably well for someone of such a tender age when you also consider the massive weight of expectation he is under.'

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