Wayne Rooney asked by Roy Hodgson to speak to Jamie Vardy so he could tell wife to 'calm down' during Euro 2016, court hears
Wayne Rooney told the court today that he was asked by the then-England manager to talk to Jamie Vardy "on issues regarding his wife"
Wayne Rooney has entered the witness box in Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice to start his evidence in the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial.
Mr Rooney says he was asked by then-England manager Roy Hodgson to speak to fellow footballer Jamie Vardy to ask his wife to “calm down” during the Euro 2016 tournament, the High Court heard.
Mr Rooney, giving evidence from the witness box, told the court that he had been asked to speak to Mr Vardy by Mr Hodgson and his then assistant manager Gary Neville.
He said: “They asked me, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife and I think we all knew that it was an awkward subject.
“I’d need to speak to Mr Vardy and ask him to speak to his wife and ask him to say to ask his wife to calm down.”
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mrs Vardy, said: “Ask his wife to calm down? She wasn’t dancing on tables.”
Wayne Rooney replied: “No, she wasn’t, as far as I’m aware.”
Mr Rooney said there had been negative media coverage.
He said: “I was asked to speak to Mr Vardy by the England manager and I carried out that instruction.
“It was an awkward situation for me and I’m sure it was an awkward situation for Mr Vardy, but I felt it was in the best interests of the team.”
Mr Rooney told the court that he recalled that Mrs Vardy was “almost there with the team” during “down time” at the 2016 Euros, with her allegedly being on FaceTime with her husband throughout the tournament.
He said he “100%” spoke to Mr Vardy but did not know if Mr Vardy then spoke to his wife.
“It wasn’t my place to speak to Mrs Vardy,” Mr Rooney said.
Under questioning from Mr Tomlinson, Mr Rooney said he did not remember him and Mr Vardy speaking to a Sun journalist.
“As England captain I would always try and protect the players in public as much as I could,” Mr Rooney said.
He later added: “Everyone knows the history between Liverpudlians and The Sun newspaper, I never spoken to a Sun journalist on a personal level.”
Asked if it was a matter of concern that his wife was claiming stories were being leaked about her and their family, Wayne Rooney replied: “It’s always a matter of concern when it involves your family. There’s information that my wife said had been leaked.”
He added that other stories were inaccurate.
Mr Rooney said: “It was something that me and my wife have had to deal with since we were 16.
“I have learned how to deal with that and not let it have much impact on my way of thinking.”
Mr Rooney was later asked why he had not brought his wife’s concerns up with Jamie Vardy.
He replied: “Jamie was a team-mate for the national team, he’s not someone I have ever particularly been friends with on a social level.”
In his witness statement, Mr Rooney said he “didn’t want to get involved” when his wife became “frustrated” at alleged leaks of her information to The Sun.
Asked what he meant by that in court, Mr Rooney replied: “I’m not big on social media and I didn’t want to get involved.
“My wife is an independent woman who does her own thing and I didn’t want to get involved in what the situation was.”
Mr Rooney said that social media was the “least” of his worries amid helping his wife with their four children.
“She made me aware of it and that was the last time I actually spoke about it,” Mr Rooney said.
Mrs Vardy strongly denies leaking stories about Coleen Rooney to journalists.
The trial continues.