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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Rooney and Gray in restaurant scuffle

Wayne Rooney was involved in an altercation with fellow Premiership star Michael Gray in a plush Manchester restaurant on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old Manchester United striker was with fiancee Coleen McLoughlin and three other couples, all long-standing close friends of the pair, at the Panacea restaurant, when Gray, himself capped three times by England in 1999, wandered over, apparently under the influence of alcohol.

The footballers exchanged words before it is alleged Rooney, while still seated, punched Gray, giving the player, who is now at Blackburn, a black eye.

'Wayne and Coleen were enjoying a night out with three other couples and were having a quiet dinner when Michael came up to their table uninvited,' said a spokesman for the striker.

'Michael then began making a number of remarks which were offensive to Coleen and Wayne's other female guests.

'Several times, Wayne asked Michael to leave. It was a brief incident and as far as Wayne is concerned, he bears no ill-feeling towards Michael.'

The incident comes at a time when the former Everton star is currently suspended from club duty and has only just completed an international ban for his dismissal during England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal.

The negative headlines are the last thing Rooney needed, given he has worked hard to try to curb the excesses of temper he has admitted in the past have caused him problems.

Yet given the provocation involved Saturday's incident, Rooney is unlikely to face any internal action from his club, while it is understood Gray has offered a full version of events to Blackburn boss Mark Hughes.