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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Rooney's gambling not a problem, claims Merson

Paul Merson insists Wayne Rooney should not be judged as an addict even if it is confirmed he has accrued gambling debts of £700,000.

Merson, who still gambles and claims to have wagered £7million in his life, does not see his own reflection in Manchester United and England striker Rooney.

He told the Daily Mail: 'Does Wayne have a problem? No. If a postman or a milkman earns £300 a week and spends £310 a week, then he is in trouble.

'It's a lot of money, but Wayne earns a lot.'

Merson, who is 38 and has now retired from the game, admits he gambled 'obscene' amounts during his playing career and claims he has learned to limit his betting.

'There is no worse feeling than getting a bill through with nothing to show for it,' he said.

'My bill arrives, it could be for £150,000, then you have to get the money. So you gamble again to chase the money. It hurts like mad.'