The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gangsters threaten to harm Rooney

London: England’s soccer wonder kid Wayne Rooney is at the centre of a terrifying threat.

According to a largely circulated tabloid, two gun gangs have warned they could cripple the 17-year-old England star and kill his controversial agent Paul Stretford.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” Stretford told News of the World.

The gangs want a cut of the fortune Stretford is making by managing Rooney.

The 44-year old Stretford refuses to pay — and fears for his life after three shots were fired into his next-door neighbour’s front door.

Stretford said he was employing minders to protect him round the clock.

Rooney and his parents, Wayne senior, 39, and 35-year-old Jeannette, decided they did not want personal protection — yet. But they have spent a fortune upgrading security at their home.

The warning came just three weeks ago before Everton ace Rooney, thought to be worth more than £20 million, played in his fifth England international.

He had a terrible game and was substituted at half-time, before England went on to sneak a 2-1 win over Slovakia.

According to the tabloid, the threats have come from two notorious crime families in London and Liverpool.

So far Rooney and his family and actress girlfriend Colleen McLoughlin, 17, believe they are safe enough behind the high-security gates of their £400,000 luxury home in Sandfield Park, Liverpool.

Rooney, his parents, his brothers Graham, 14, and 11-year-old John moved to their Sandfield Park mansion in Liverpool’s upmarket West Derby from a council house in Croxteth.

Rooney’s wages when he was a 16-year-old junior with Everton were £90 a week. Now he is on £13,000 a week and is said to have made his first £10 million from sponsorship deals.

Rooney’s mother thinks he can handle the pressure of fame. “He is level-headed and I think he will be able to keep his feet on the ground,” she said.

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