Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Wayne Rooney is struggling to cope with the media attention following revelations about his private life.
Rooney has found himself in the headlines following allegations that he slept with prostitutes while his wife was pregnant.
The England international has scored only one goal for United this season and he was left out of the draw at Everton as Ferguson feared the hostile reception he would receive at Goodison Park.
“I don’t believe he has a confidence problem but the boy is starting to realise finally, without any question, what kind of focus is on him as a human being,” Ferguson said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He is realising what it means to be at the centre of media attention for non-football-related questions.
“I don’t think the boy can turn a corner at the moment without a camera on him. He can’t move without the paparazzi being on him and, for a young person, that is not what you want. You want to play and enjoy your football without that attention on you, because that can be quite exhausting.
“He would like to keep playing with freedom, but the siege of the tabloids can wear out anyone.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson has remarked upon Chelsea’s start to the season. The champions are four points clear at the top of the table after winning their opening five games.
“It’s quite an amazing start to the season,” added Ferguson.
“I think Chelsea chose the fixture list themselves. They finished last season scoring a lot of goals against weaker teams and have continued that way.
“You still have to beat those teams but Chelsea have done that in quite a strong fashion and anyone who wins the league will have to finish above them.”