By Matthew Galea
Former Manchester United defender John Curtis says the only regret Wayne Rooney should have after being photographed allegedly drinking at a wedding was that he did it in his England tracksuit.
The United and England captain courted plenty of controversy after he was snapped looking a little worse for wear while celebrating his national team’s 3-0 win over Scotland.
The pictures were plastered on British tabloids as Rooney was roundly criticised for his behaviour, forcing the leading all-time England goalscorer to apologise for the pictures, though he would later describe the media coverage of the night as “disgraceful”.
Curtis, who played 14 Premier League games for Manchester United, said Rooney had the right to let his hair down, but said it was wrong to do so while in his England kit.
“The only thing he did wrong was that he had his England tracksuit on,” Curtis told OZMUFC.com’s Matthew Galea while speaking on the UnitedInFocus.com podcast.
“When he’s in that tracksuit, he has to be responsible for that and behave in the manner that is required.
“But he knew he was injured and he was not going to play against Spain, so if he didn’t have the England shirt on, I wouldn’t have blamed him for anything.
“But that was the only bad thing.
“He has every right, having performed well in a 3-0 victory over Scotland, to be able to celebrate and knowing he wasn’t going to play against Spain, so I don’t see the behaviour as an issue.”
Curtis, who after graduating from the United academy into the first team went on to play for the likes of Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest, said the drinking culture of English football and England in general was ever-present in his early days as a footballer, but said it has become a lot less public in recent years.
“It changed a lot over my career. When I first started, it was very prevalent,” Curtis said.
“And over the course of that 15 years, it changed a lot and even moreso now.
“The introduction of smartphones and camera phones makes it almost impossible for players. I mean Wayne Rooney has been on camera in his own kitchen!
“It’s very difficult to let your hair down. But in regards to drinking, I think it’s a British thing more than anything.
“The British have a reputation globally of drinking to excess, be it on Ibiza on a holiday or up and down the country in pubs every weekend. You see people lying in the gutter, throwing up in the gutter, so it’s a cultural problem that maybe the French … or the Italian’s don’t have.”
For more from John Curtis, make sure you listen to the latest episode of the UnitedInFocus.com podcast HERE.