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Wayne Rooney says he asked Jamie Vardy to ‘calm down’ his wife at Euro 2016 at request of England manager


Wayne Rooney asked Jamie Vardy to “calm down” his wife Rebekah Vardy at the request of England manager Roy Hodgson during the Euro 2016 tournament, the High Court has heard.

The former England international and current manager of Derby County has been giving evidence on day six of his wife’s libel trial against Ms Vardy.

Ms Vardy, 39, is suing Ms Rooney, 35, for defamation after Ms Rooney publicly accused Ms Vardy of being the source of stories about her that were leaked to The Sun.

Mr Rooney said he was asked to intervene over the attention Ms Vardy was receiving from the media during the tournament.

He said that “the England manager, Roy Hodgson, and his assistant manager Gary Neville ... they asked me to, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife”.

Rebekah and Jamie Vardy arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (PA)

Mr Rooney added: “I think we all knew that it was an awkward subject.”

He continued: “So I agreed to speak to Mr Vardy ... to ask him to ask his wife to calm down. It was an awkward moment for me to speak to Jamie about his wife, but I thought it was necessary having been asked by the England manager.”

He clarified: “I was asked to speak to my teammate Jamie Vardy about the fact that Becky’s media activities were causing problems and distractions. I was asked to speak to Mr Vardy by the England manager and the assistant manager, and I carried out that instruction ... I felt in the best interests of the rest of the team.”

Court artist sketch of Wayne Rooney giving evidence (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Ms Vardy, said: “Ask his wife to calm down? She wasn’t dancing on tables.”

Mr Rooney replied: “No, she wasn’t, as far as I’m aware.”

Mr Rooney said there had been negative media coverage. He told the court that he recalled Ms Vardy had been “almost there with the team” during “down time” at Euro 2016, and that she had allegedly been on FaceTime with her husband throughout the tournament.

He said he had “100 per cent” spoken to Mr Vardy, but did not know if Mr Vardy had then spoken to his wife. “It wasn’t my place to speak to Mrs Vardy,” Mr Rooney added.

Coleen and Wayne Rooney leave the Royal Courts of Justice (Reuters)

Under questioning from Mr Tomlinson, Mr Rooney said he did not remember himself or 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’ve never spoken to a Sun journalist on a personal level.”