LONDON – Wayne Rooney has been charged with drunk driving and was released on bail ahead of a court appearance later this month, Cheshire police said Friday.
The 31-year-old Everton striker was reportedly stopped by police near his home outside Manchester early Friday. He is due to appear in court on Sept. 18.
Rooney is the all-time leading scorer for England’s national soccer team and for Manchester United. He retired from the national team last month.
Rooney rejoined Everton, his first club, this season after 13 years at Old Trafford. He won one Champions League and five Premier League titles while at United.
England coach Gareth Southgate wanted Rooney back in the national team after his strong start at Everton, where he scored in his first two Premier League games this season. But the former England captain decided to concentrate on his club career.
Rooney scored 53 goals in 119 appearances for England, and Southgate said last month he thought the striker could have a future as a coach or mentor with the national team setup.
England never made it past the quarterfinals at a major tournament with Rooney on the team, and his struggles on the international stage led many to blame him for his country’s failures.
Rooney became a star at the 2004 European Championship, scoring four goals at the tournament in Portugal when he was still only 18. He broke Bobby Charlton’s 45-year England scoring record in September 2015.
Although Rooney set records with England, his time with the national team was sometimes less distinguished. What turned out to be Rooney’s final appearance — against Scotland in November — was followed by criticism over his late-night revelry in the team hotel.
The English Football Association said at the time that Rooney wasn’t living up to his responsibilities as captain after being pictured bleary-eyed at a wedding reception at the hotel when his position in the team was already in doubt.
Erratic behavior has followed Rooney on and off the field throughout his career.
Rooney’s 2006 World Cup was remembered for his red card against Portugal and then-coach Sven-Goran Eriksson urging critics: “Don’t kill him, I beg you.”
Rooney’s fiery character flared again at the 2010 World Cup when he sarcastically sneered into a camera after a draw with Algeria: “Nice to see the home fans boo you. That’s what you call loyal supporters.”
In three appearances at World Cups, Rooney only managed one goal — in 2014, when England was eliminated in the group stage in Brazil. Further embarrassment came two years later when England was eliminated by Iceland in the last 16 at Euro 2016 — the only game in which Rooney scored at the tournament in France.