Wayne Rooney names Wigan Warriors among teams he chose not to support and why

Football legend and Liverpool-born Wayne Rooney has explained why he chose not to support any of his local rugby league teams and instead opted for Leeds Rhinos, speaking to Rob Burrow on his new podcast.
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The ex-England captain was Leeds legend Burrow’s first guest on his new BBC podcast, ‘Seven’ with the Manchester United record-goalscorer revealing what hooked him to support the Rhinos.

Now in charge of Birmingham City in the Championship, Rooney is a well-known rugby league fan, having presented the Rhinos with their team shirts ahead of the 2012 Grand Final against Warrington at Old Trafford.

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"I remember thinking there’s no way I was going to support St Helens, Warrington or Wigan because they’re all fake scousers,” he joked.

"I was thinking what team am I going to support and I remember, it was a Friday night, and I’m watching the Rhinos play, and seeing Rob there, Keith Senior, [Kevin] Sinfield - I was gripped.

"I knew it was controversial obviously as well, playing for Manchester United and that rivalry with Leeds in football, so I knew it was a controversial decision.

"But just from watching that first game, the Rhinos, I was gripped.”

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Burrow launched his new BBC Sounds podcast alongside wife Lindsey and is a seven part-series showcasing inspirational stories from sporting greats.

Ex-Derby County Manager Wayne RooneyEx-Derby County Manager Wayne Rooney
Ex-Derby County Manager Wayne Rooney

The Motor Neurone Disease campaigner, diagnosed in 2019, uses ground-breaking technology to speak using his eyes with the creation of his computerised ‘Yorkshire’ voice.

Rugby union icon and World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson and British double-Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes are among those already confirmed for the series.

Rooney also shared his admiration for Burrow. He said: “I know first-hand the impact this (illness) can have on yourself and people around you. Everyone must change the way of living and I had that with my sister-in-law who suffered not the same illness, but something as severe.

"But your energy and positivity helps everyone else around you, I can see the money you have raised for charity and to help others, it’s really inspiring.”