Liverpool: Everton will hold urgent meetings with Wayne Rooney’s agent following claims that the England striker was a target for an extortion plot.
Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford told newspapers that Rooney faced a “very dangerous situation” and that gangsters want a cut of the striker’s earnings.
Ian Ross, Everton’s head of corporate affairs, said on Monday the English Premiership club was taking the claims seriously and will speak with Stretford and local police to ensure the 17-year-old is not in danger.
“The claims being made are of a very serious nature. We shall be talking to Paul Stretford and Merseyside police at the earliest opportunity,” Ross told the club’s website.
“Wayne Rooney is due to report back for pre-season training later this week.
Rooney’s home was attacked by vandals armed with a paintball gun in April.
Three pellets filled with green paint were fired on Wednesday night at the semi-detached home in the tough Croxteth district of Liverpool.
Rooney, 17, still lives in the modest house with his parents and two younger brothers, though he is planning to move his family into a luxury home nearby.
Last November, thugs slashed the tyres of the Rooney family’s car.
Rooney inspired England to a 2-0 Euro 2004 qualifying win over Turkey at Sunderland in March.
That first international start came seven weeks after he became England’s youngest ever cap, with a second half appearance in a friendly against Australia at the age of 17 years and 111 days.
Last year Rooney was a 16-year-old trainee on 70 pounds a week who had not even started a Premier League match for Everton.
Life changed forever for Rooney on October 19 last year when he came off the bench at Arsenal to strike a dipping, curling 25-yard shot that bamboozled England goalkeeper David Seaman and earned Everton a memorable win over the double holders.
According to a largely circulated tabloid, two gun gangs have warned they could cripple the 17-year-old England star and kill his agent Stretford.
Rooney’s family has spent a fortune upgrading security at their home.