Wayne Rooney has been embroiled in a coronavirus drama after being visited by a friend who had been instructed to be tested for Covid-19 and was later found to have the disease.
The Sun newspaper reported that the former England captain – now player-coach at Sky Bet Championship side Derby – was “seething” after infected entrepreneur Josh Bardsley visited him at his luxury mansion on Thursday to give him a watch.
The paper said Bardsley, 21, had already been contacted by Test and Trace personnel, had taken a test and therefore should have been self-isolating. His test later came back positive.
Rooney, who is married to television personality Coleen and has four children, was unaware of any Covid-related concerns connected with Bardsley, and played in Derby’s 1-0 home loss to Watford a day after the visit on Friday evening.
Government guidelines say anyone who has been in contact with a person who has tested positive must self-isolate for 14 days.
It is now likely that, at the least, the Derby and Watford squads along with their support staff will be forced to take tests. Rooney has already indicated he will take a test.
A statement from Rooney’s management said the 34-year-old was “angry and disappointed” by Bardsley’s actions.
“It was only today (Saturday) following media approaches and his own investigations that Wayne became aware that Josh had been contacted by track and trace before the visit and should not have come to his house,” the statement from a spokesman, printed in The Sun, said.
“Wayne also today discovered that Josh had subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. Had he known either that Josh had been contacted by track and trace or had tested positive he would have refused to have seen him.”
The statement said Rooney would also have told his club “immediately” had he known he had been in contact with “anyone suspected of having the virus”.
“Wayne is angry and disappointed that he, his family and his club have been put in this position by someone acting secretly and in breach of Government and NHS guidelines. He is now taking a coronavirus test as a result of his contact with Josh,” the statement said.
Derby did not name Rooney but confirmed in a club statement that they were aware of the reports and would be following guidelines.
“Derby County Football Club is aware of a report in a national newspaper relating to a member of the club’s playing squad being in contact with an individual which has tested positive for Covid-19,” it read.
“On being made aware of this news the club has ensured that the appropriate measures were taken in line with strict EFL Covid-19 protocols and UK Government guidelines, which the club is operating under.
“The club will continue to adhere to the Covid-19 rules and protocols to ensure that the safest possible environment is provided for its players and staff.
“The club will make no further comment unless a further update is required in relation to this matter.”