Wayne Rooney says his “judgement was affected” when he wanted to injure an opposition player during Man Utd’s match against Chelsea in 2006.
In an interview published in the Mail on Sunday, Rooney says he changed his studs to “long mental ones” ahead of the match at Stamford Bridge with the intention to “hurt someone”.
The FA has sought observations from Rooney, who revealed on Friday he has now co-operated with English football’s governing body over the incident.
The 36-year-old believes his mental health at the time was the reason for wanting to injure an opposition player.
“I’ve been very open about my state of mind [back then],” he said. “That was a feeling, it wasn’t something where I went onto the pitch and was like ‘Right, I’m going to hurt and injure someone’.
“It was a feeling I had, and obviously I had a good honest 50/50 tackle with John Terry.
“The FA have asked for my response and I’ve given them my response.
“I spoke to people to try and help me get through that [period], which was the toughest part really at the start.
“In doing this documentary [‘Rooney’ – the Amazon Prime Video film], I had to be open and honest and some very hard subjects personally for me to talk about.
“I’ve been getting media exposure since I was 16 and I’ve been judged on many things.
“Sometimes it was my own fault, but I wanted to give my point of view of feelings I had, when you’re down and you’re struggling inside. Your judgement is affected.
“Seeing some of the young players’ decisions they’re making over the last couple of years, and seeing them get judged and not knowing what the causes of that is, whether they’re struggling as well.”
Asked whether there is now better measures in place to protect younger players’ mental health, the Derby County boss said: “I think there is. Nowadays it’s a lot easier to speak and speak openly about issues.
“But also the exposure has changed, everyone’s got a camera phone and social media so it’s a lot easier to actually get to the players than it was before.”
Rooney: I left a hole in Terry’s foot
In the Mail on Sunday interview, Rooney revealed he deliberately tried to injure an opposition player during United’s match at Stamford Bridge in 2006.
Rooney recalled: “For that game I changed them to big, long metal ones – the maximum length you could have because I wanted to try and hurt someone, try and injure someone.
“I knew they were going to win that game. You could feel they were a better team at the time so I changed my studs.
“The studs were legal but thinking if there’s a challenge there I knew I’d want to go in for it properly, basically. I did actually.
“John Terry left the stadium on crutches. I left a hole in his foot and then I signed my shirt to him after the game.
“A few weeks later I sent it to him and asked for my stud back.
“If you look back when they were celebrating, JT’s got his crutches from that tackle.”
On Monday, Terry laughed off Derby manager Rooney’s admission. The former Chelsea captain posted on Twitter: “[Wayne Rooney] is this when you left your stud in my foot?”
The FA fined Roy Keane £150,000 and gave him a five-match ban in 2002 after he admitted in his autobiography to intentionally hurting then-Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland.
Rooney: Pressures of playing career led to binge drinking
In the same interview, Rooney opened up on a battle with binge drinking during his playing career and revealed a determination to prove himself a success in the dugout by learning from his own mistakes.
Ahead of the release of Amazon Prime Video documentary ‘Rooney’, the 36-year-old recalled the battles he went through after breaking into the Premier League as a raw 16-year-old talent at Goodison Park and later securing a big-money move to Manchester United.
“I had made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, some in the press and some not in the press, whether that’s fighting or whatever,” he said.
“For me to deal with that, deal with stuff that was in the newspapers, deal with the manager at the time, deal with family at the time, was very difficult.
“In my early years at Manchester United, probably until we had my first son, Kai, I locked myself away really. I never went out.
“There were times you’d get a couple of days off from football and I would actually lock myself away and just drink, to try to take all that away from my mind.
“Locking myself away made me forget some of the issues I was dealing with. It was like a binge.”
If you are affected by issues related to mental wellbeing or want to talk, please contact the Samaritans on the free helpline 116 123, or visit the website.