The year was 2006 and a golden generation of England players were expected to win the World Cup in Germany. But despite their massive reputations, it was their wives and girlfriends (WAGS) who stole the show.
Rio Ferdinand later described the celebrity style of that England team as a "circus" and since that tournament, there have been efforts to cut the publicity generated from the partners.
Fabio Capello went crazy – as he often did – and banned WAGS from the World Cup in 2010. Forcing the England players to be away from their loved ones didn't work and they performed poorly in South Africa.
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Now, they appear to have a good balance. There are wives and there are girlfriends but none of them appear to be making much of a sideshow from themselves. All, it seems, but one.
Only yesterday The Times reported that Wayne Rooney had spoken to Jamie Vardy about the impact his new wife Rebekah is having in the press. Her outspoken manner on social media has seen her profile increase almost in tandem with that of her husband, who inspired Leicester to the Premier League title last season.
Now, the well-connected Charles Sale of the Daily Mail claims her lengths to garner more publicity stretch much further than the odd tweet. Indeed, he claims that she purposely sat in the wrong seat at a recent England match so she could be closer to Rooney's wife Coleen. The experienced WAG has a celebrity profile to envy and would court the interest of photographers.
Sale wrote in his column: "Vardy’s new wife Rebekah is so keen on publicity at Euro 2016 she reportedly sat in the wrong seats at one of the England games so that she could be near Coleen Rooney, knowing that the captain’s wife would be the focus of the photographers’ attention."
Causing a stir
Rebekah first came to the attention of mainstream media after the couple sold the rights to their wedding day to Hello! Magazine. She has also actively addressed speculation regarding her husband's future and has spoken out about Jamie's proposed move to Arsenal.
Upon the announcement that Vardy had signed a new contract with Leicester, rejecting the Gunners in the process, she called on trolls who had targeted her to apologise. Unconfirmed reports that she is still waiting for them.