Wenger: Drinking culture not an issue for English football

The Manchester United star hit the headlines after being apparently shown drunk at the England hote, but the Arsenal boss believes the culture has now changed

Arsene Wenger believes English football’s days of heavy drinking are over after the saga surrounding Wayne Rooney rumbled on.

England and Manchester United captain Rooney has apologised for his “inappropriate” conduct after The Sun published photographs allegedly showing him to be drunk while attending a wedding party at the national team’s hotel during the past week’s international break.

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The same newspaper claimed on Thursday that record-goalscorer Rooney now finds his status as national team skipper under threat.

Wenger inherited an infamous drinking culture when he took charge of Arsenal back in 1996 and responded by banning alcohol at the club bar and bringing in a strict diet plan.

The Frenchman feels no one walking into a top English club in 2016 would encounter remotely similar issues.

“I do not want to get involved in the Rooney case at all, because I don’t know really what happened,” he told reporters. “But I don’t think it is a major problem now in English sport, it has disappeared.

“At the top level, every player has to know what he can do and what he cannot do.

“You have to accept you cannot control the players everywhere. They have to know what has changed. There is a lot of competition inside the club, and if you don’t compete, you don’t play.

“Players just need to follow the instructions of their managers and their coaches. We have all been young, we have not all be angels at 20 or 21.

“But overall I believe it is part of youth to make mistakes and after that analyse it. All the players who make big careers have that quality, a good assessment.

“All the big players make mistakes but afterwards they have a good assessment of the situation and they address it in a positive way.”

Arsenal face United at Old Trafford on Saturday, with Rooney bidding to recover from a minor knee injury that ruled him out of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Spain.

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