‘I hold my hands up’ – Wayne Rooney gives honest reaction to eye-opening Dele interview

Harry Watkinson
Wayne Rooney warms up with Dele before an England game, 2016
Wayne Rooney warms up with Dele before an England game, 2016

Former Everton and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has given his reaction to Dele’s recent interview with Gary Neville.

The 27-year-old opened up on the challenges he has faced throughout his life and how they have impacted his football career.

Dele was simply sensational for several years at Tottenham but his rise stagnated and he has so far struggled to rebuild his career at Everton.

In the interview on the Overlap with Neville, the England international revealed the horrendous trauma he faced in a difficult childhood and how this led to mental health issues and a damaging dependence on sleeping tablets later in life.

The reaction to the interview has been overwhelmingly positive, with Dele voicing his ambition to help people going through similar struggles in their lives.

Now, Rooney has given his reaction to Dele’s brave decision to speak out.

Speaking to The Timesthe D.C. United manager said: “I think these days if any player is feeling [mental health stresses] or has problems, the support is out there for them.

“There is no reason for shame or to hide their issues, because all that support and help is there.

“It is always difficult to take that first step but once you do, you get the support – and that will happen with Dele. Now that he’s got everything off his chest I hope he can just play his football and get the support he needs.

“I watched his interview and it’s not nice to see [someone suffering like that]. It’s another example of how people are too quick to judge at times.

“You don’t know people as human beings. You don’t know what a person is going through. I had it as Derby with Jordon Ibe [who battled severe depression while Rooney was Derby manager].

“I’m pleased [Dele] has come out and said what he said and, even me, over the last year I probably judged him and thought he’s not playing well, what’s he doing, why’s he doing this to his career? I’d be the first to hold my hands up.”

Rooney also called for the media to give Dele the space he needs to recover and rebuild his career. The midfielder is currently sidelined with an injury, but says he is hungry to perform for Everton this season after a loan spell at Besiktas in 2022-23.

“People now have a perspective of what he’s been going through and hopefully he now gets the right people around him to help him,” Rooney added.

“I hope he is given space by the media. We all know there’s a really good player in there. He’s at a really good club to help him and hopefully he’ll get through it.”

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