Wayne Rooney has warned his England team-mates and their so-called WAGS (wives and girlfriends) to keep a low profile on social media ahead of their Euro 2016 knockout game against Iceland, reports The Times.
There is a specific concern with regards to Jamie Vardy, who along with his new wife Rebekah appeared to be purposely attracting attention from the tabloids prior to the tournament. Indeed, the fact that they sold photograph rights of their wedding to Hello! magazine drew solicitude.
Rebekah has also been outspoken on social media with regards to Vardy's proposed move to Arsenal as well as crowd trouble before, during and after England games. She recently claimed she was the victim of a tear gas attack in Marseille, accusing the French police of treating fans "like animals".
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It has attracted the concern of captain Rooney, who is the only player to have been present at the World Cup in 2006 when the prominence of WAGS was described as a "circus" by Rio Ferdinand. The press freely attributed it to England's inability to win go further than the quarter-final stage, where they were knocked out by Portugal.
Ferdinand said in 2008: "I think we got caught up in the whole thing.... we became a bit of a celebrity in terms of the whole WAG situation. There was a big show around the whole England squad. It was like a theatre unfolding and football became a secondary element. People were worrying more about what people were wearing than the games."
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"You’re in a tournament and you don’t get many tournaments in your career. You have to be focused. Not just the WAGs, but families being really close, us being close to you guys (press), the paparazzi situation... The football wasn’t really separated. It’s about doing things in the right way."
Rooney is aware that a similar situation is brewing and spoke to England's less-experienced players during a recent golf trip, citing the need for all partners to keep a low profile on Twitter and in the tabloids.
However, Rebekah Vardy has already failed to heed Rooney's advice, immediately going on a short Twitter tirade following the announcement that husband Jamie had signed a new deal with Leicester City.
Vardy has been considering an offer from Arsenal for several weeks but drew a line under speculation by agreeing an improved four-year deal. In response, Rebekah took aim at the Foxes' fans that abused her following the initial report.
She wrote: "I wonder how many of you that slagged me/us off unnecessarily will now have the balls to apologise? Embarrassing...."
Rebekah went on to respond directly to some Twitter trolls before thanking the fans that had been respectful towards her.
Denying the story
She also went on to deny the story you have just read, calling it "nonsense". It could also be that Jamie hasn't got round to telling her yet...
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