Former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney issued an apology after pleading guilty to being almost three times over the legal limit for alcohol and receiving a two-year driving ban.
The 31-year-old, who has been fined two weeks’ wages by current club Everton, was arrested when police stopped a car in Wilmslow, Cheshire in the early hours of Saturday 1 September.
Appearing at Stockport magistrates court, Rooney was also ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order. Following the hearing, Rooney released a statement.
It read: “I want publicly to apologise for my unforgivable lack of judgement in driving while over the legal limit. It was completely wrong.
“I have already said sorry to my family, my manager and chairman and everyone at Everton FC. Now I want to apologise to all the fans and everyone else who has followed and supported me throughout my career.
“Of course I accept the sentence of the court and hope that I can make some amends through my community service.”
The court head that Rooney was close to being three times the legal limit when stopped by police. A breathalyser test showed his alcohol level was 104 microgrammes in 100ml of breath. The drink-drive limit is 35 microgrammes.
John Temperley, the district judge at Stockport magistrates court, told Rooney: “I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this was a serious offence.
“You were driving a motor vehicle almost three times the legal limit and you were carrying a female passenger, which was an aggravating feature and you put other road users at risk.”
Rooney’s solicitor, Michael Rainford, disclosed that his client had written a letter to the court expressing his contrition over the incident, which emanated from the VW Beetle of a woman he had met in a bar in Alderley Edge having a faulty tail light.
“Through me, Wayne wishes to express his genuine remorse for what was a terrible mistake and terrible error of judgement on his behalf,” he said.
Rooney, who announced his international retirement last month, is England’s all-time leading goalscorer having netted 53 times for the Three Lions since making his debut against Australia in 2003.
Days prior to confirming his international retirement, England boss Gareth Southgate had spoken to Rooney about the possibility of him returning to the England fold, having overlooked him for matches against Scotland and France in June.
Rooney is also Manchester United’s record goalscorer after surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally last season – his final campaign at Old Trafford. Rooney scored 253 goals during his 13-stay with United. He won 12 major trophies during that period.
In the summer he returned to boyhood club Everton and proceeded to make a bright start, scoring two goals in successive Premier League games, but has failed to find the net in his last five appearances.