Fri, Mar 25, 2005 - Page 22 News List

Rooney accused of nightclub punch-up

AP , MANCHESTER

Police began an investigation on Wednesday into allegations that England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney assaulted a student in a nightclub.

Greater Manchester police said they were investigating claims by 22-year-old Patrick Hanrahan that Rooney punched him three times in the head early Tuesday morning in the Tiger Tiger bar.

"He went absolutely crazy and swung his arms at me," Hanrahan was quoted as saying on Tuesday in The Sun newspaper. "He landed three punches -- two on top of my head and one on the right side of my forehead."

Rooney's spokesman, Ian Monk, said the player was approached by a man "in a menacing and threatening manner" about his transfer from Everton to Manchester United last August. He denied Rooney assaulted the man.

"At no stage did Wayne respond," Monk said. "The man was immediately asked to leave the nightclub in the company of security guards."

Rooney had been in the bar with United teammates Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Roy Carroll.

The alleged incident occurred at about 1am on the day Rooney, Ferdinand and Brown joined their England teammates for training for Saturday's World Cup qualifying game against Northern Ireland.

Rooney is eligible for tomorrow's game under new Football Association rules for players under police investigation. Players can only be suspended from representing England if found guilty of an offense in court.

"Wayne's fine," England captain David Beckham said at a team new conference on Wednesday. "I don't know much about what has been said. We're here as a team and stick together as a team. We're preparing for a big game and come Saturday he'll be giving 110 percent."

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