The former England national has revealed that he used it as a coping mechanism to deal with the immense pressure and fame that came with his rapid rise in the sport.
In a recent podcast hosted by former rugby league star and motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner, Rob Burrow, Rooney spoke openly about the challenges he faced and the struggles he encountered as a young football sensation.
Rooney's journey in professional football began when he made his senior debut for Everton at just 16 years old. Subsequently, he became an England international at the tender age of 17 and joined Manchester United at 18.
While these accomplishments were undeniably remarkable, they also thrust him into the spotlight, which took its toll on his mental health.
"My release was alcohol when I was in my early 20s," the 38-year-old revealed during the podcast. "I'd go home and spend a couple of days at home and not leave the house. I'd drink almost until I'd pass out. I didn't want to be around people, because sometimes you feel embarrassed. Sometimes you feel like you've let people down, and ultimately I didn't know how else to deal with it."
Rooney's honesty sheds light on the hidden struggles faced by many athletes and public figures, who often grapple with the immense pressures of their profession in solitude.
He acknowledged the importance of seeking help and guidance from others during challenging times.
"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."
Rooney, who recently returned to England after managing in the United States, is the inaugural guest on a new series of the BBC's The Total Sport podcast. In this podcast series, titled "Seven: Rob Burrow," former Leeds Rhinos star Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in 2019, interviews seven sporting icons and poses seven questions.
Rooney praised Burrow's resilience in the face of MND, emphasizing the inspiration he has provided to others dealing with life-altering illnesses.
"I know firsthand 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 help everyone else around you. I can see the money you have raised for charity and to help others—it's really inspiring."
Wayne Rooney's openness about his struggles serves as a reminder that even the most successful individuals can face personal challenges and highlights the importance of seeking help and support when needed.">