In Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow’s first ever podcast, former Manchester United and Everton striker Wayne Rooney was the guest.
Rooney made his Premier League debut as a teenager at boyhood club Everton before earning a big move to Manchester United where he became the club’s record scorer and a five time Premier League winner as well as a Champions League winner in 2008.
He has since gone into management with Derby County before recently taking over at Birmingham City. But what you may not know about Rooney is the fact he is also a Leeds Rhinos fan and this is partly due to Burrow.
In 2011 and 2012, Rooney was captivated by the Rhinos’ performances on the road to back to back titles and especially Burrow’s. Thus, ahead of the 2012 Grand Final, Rooney visited the Rhinos’ squad and was presented with a Burrow seven shirt.
Rooney explained why he could never support Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves or St Helens on the podcast saying:
“I remember thinking there was no way I was going to support St Helens, Warrington or Wigan, because they are all fake Scouser. It was a Friday night and I was watching the Rhinos play. I was gripped.”
Rooney also opened up about his issues with alcohol: “My release was alcohol when I was in my early 20s. I’d drink almost until I’d pass out. I didn’t want to be around people, because sometimes you feel embarrassed. You feel like you’ve let people down and ultimately I didn’t know how else to deal with it.
“When you don’t take the help and guidance of others, you can be really in a low place, and I was for a few years with that. Thankfully, now I’m not afraid to go and speak to people about issues.”
He also spoke about the inspiring example Burrow now sets battling Motor Neurone Disease. He said: “I know first-hand the impact this [illness] can have on yourself and people around you.
“Everyone must change the way of living and I had that with my sister-in-law, who suffered not the same illness but something as severe.
“But your energy and positivity helps everyone else around you, I can see the money you have raised for charity and to help others, it’s really inspiring.”
Burrow himself added: “Having this disease doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice. I live life to the full every day and refuse to give in.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to showcase my personality in my podcast and have a laugh.”
You can listen to the full podcast here.