Euro 2016

Lie low on social media, Rooney tells new faces

LONDON • Wayne Rooney has advised England's less experienced players and their partners to avoid social media and to attempt to keep a low profile before Monday's last-16 match against Iceland.

It is understood that the captain and other senior players have spoken to the newly married Jamie Vardy about the prominence of his wife, Rebekah, in the media while there is also concern in the squad about the amount of abuse Raheem Sterling is receiving online.

Yesterday, Vardy committed to Premier League champions Leicester City for another four years, turning down an Arsenal offer.

The Vardys appeared to be courting the media in the build-up to the tournament, with their wedding photographs published by Hello! magazine this month and Rebekah has been highly visible in France.

In addition to writing a national newspaper column and making television appearances, she has been tweeting regularly, including saying that she was the victim of a tear-gas attack by French police when attending England's opening fixture against Russia in Marseille, where she claimed that the fans were "treated like animals".

As the only survivor in the squad from England's 2006 World Cup campaign in Germany, where the presence of the so-called Wags (wives and girlfriends) was later described as a "circus" by Rio Ferdinand, Rooney has advised his team-mates and their families to keep their heads down.

In keeping with the message, Vardy, Rooney and Harry Kane had a round of golf on their day off on Wednesday, while Roy Hodgson and assistant manager Ray Lewington went sightseeing in Paris before watching the Group F games.

Hodgson has expressed concern about Sterling's confidence being dented by the abuse that he has received from England fans in the stadiums and on social media.

While there is little that he can do about being booed during matches, as he was before half-time of the 2-1 win over Wales last week, the Manchester City winger has been advised to spend less time looking at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Sterling is believed to be confused as to why he has been targeted and feels that he has been made an online scapegoat.

After England's 1-1 opening draw with Russia, the 21-year-old posted a picture of the Stade Velodrome with the message "#TheHatedOne" and appeared low on confidence when booed against Wales.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2016, with the headline 'Lie low on social media, Rooney tells new faces'. Print Edition | Subscribe