Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Rooney allegedly punches Rovers defender


Wayne Rooney's turbulent career has added another controversial episode as allegations emerged that he punched Blackburn defender Michael Gray in an altercation in a restaurant last Sunday.

The England forward was in the Panacea restaurant in Manchester with his fiancee, Coleen McLoughlin, and three other couples when Gray, himself a former England international, approached their table.

An argument ensued, during which it is alleged that Rooney, while still seated, punched the Blackburn Rovers defender, leaving him with a black eye.

It is understood that Gray has given a full account of the incident to his club manager, Mark Hughes.

"Wayne and Coleen were enjoying a night out with three other couples and were having a quiet dinner when Michael came up to their table uninvited," a spokesman for the striker said.

"Michael then began making a number of remarks which were offensive to Coleen and Wayne's other female guests.

"Several times, Wayne asked Michael to leave. It was a brief incident and as far as Wayne is concerned, he bears no ill feeling towards Michael," the spokesman said.

Rooney is serving a domestic ban of three matches after being sent off for elbowing an opponent in a pre-season tournament in the Netherlands.

He missed England's win over Macedonia FYR on Wednesday through suspension after receiving a red card for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho during the World Cup quarter-final.

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