EXCLUSIVE Wayne Rooney is ‘furious’ with Jamie Vardy for releasing a statement accusing him of ‘talking nonsense’ on stand in Wagatha Christie trial instead of having ‘guts’ to say something in court
Ex-England captain Wayne said team manager Roy Hodgson asked him to have an ‘awkward’ chat with Jamie to tell his wife Rebekah to ‘calm down’ during Euro 2016.
Wayne told the court during his evidence that Rebekah’s behaviour was a distraction for the England team and there were concerns that she was writing a diary column during the tournament.
But his ex-England teammate Jamie hit back after Wayne’s evidence by releasing a press release accusing Wayne of being confused and insisting that the players’ chat never happened.
The extraordinary row embroiling the two former England team-mates now threatens to be just as vicious as the £3m lawsuit between their wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy.
Coleen Rooney and her husband, Derby County Manager Wayne Rooney, leave the Royal Courts of Justice looking all smiles yesterday
A source close to Rooney told MailOnline: ‘Jamie must have been aware of what Wayne was going to say weeks ago when his wife received all witness statements from Coleen’s side.
‘If he really believed what Wayne swore was not true, he should have had the guts to stand up in court and say so on oath as Wayne did.
‘Instead he and Becky left court early and he chose to make his statement outside where he couldn’t be held to account for it.’
Former England captain Wayne, 36, had told the High Court he was ordered by then manager Roy Hodgson during the 2016 Euros to speak to his fellow striker about Rebekah’s media activities and ask her to ‘calm down.’
Rebekah, 40, who wrote a diary column for The Sun during the competition, said in court that the conversation never took place, but her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie 35, has not given evidence in the case.
Instead, he sat at his wife’s side yesterday and stared daggers at Wayne from the well of the court, especially when the former Manchester United star discussed the disputed conversation in the games room of the England camp.
After the mid-afternoon break, the Vardys left the court building early, shortly after Rebekah’s publicist issued Jamie’s sensational statement through a news agency, accusing Wayne of ‘talking nonsense’ and being ‘confused’.
‘Wayne is talking nonsense,’ said the statement.
‘He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016. There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.’
Rebekah Vardy and her husband, Leicester City soccer player Jamie Vardy, leave the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial early
The shock press release certainly caused raised eyebrows in the court, which was still sitting, and it remains to be seen whether the judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, will express a view on it when the hearing resumes tomorrow with closing speeches.
One lawyer not involved in the case told MailOnline: ‘It’s rather ironic, not to say disrespectful to the court, that having brought a case to trial which centres on claims of leaks to the media, the Vardys decide to make this point with a press release rather than from the witness box.’
Rebekah Vardy is suing Wayne’s wife, Coleen, 36, for libel over her viral social media post in which she claimed a sting operation identified her rival WAG as the source of leaks from her private Instagram account to The Sun. Her detective work led to the case being dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’.
Rooney described how it had been ‘awkward’ being asked to speak to the striker about his wife. He said the request came from Hodgson and Gary Neville, the England assistant manager.
The conversation appears to have occurred shortly before England were knocked out of the tournament by Iceland. ‘They asked me, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife and I think we all knew that it was an awkward subject,’ he said. ‘I’d need to speak to Mr Vardy and ask him to speak to his wife and ask his wife to calm down.’
He said the conversation occurred in the games room at the team’s headquarters while Jamie Vardy had a Red Bull and he drank coffee.
Wayned added: ‘It was awkward for me to have to speak to a team-mate regarding his wife. Whether Jamie wanted to pass on the information to his wife, that is down to him. I don’t know if he did.
‘It wasn’t my place to speak to Mrs Vardy. I was asked to speak to Mr Vardy and if Jamie wants to relay that instruction back to his wife, that’s his option.’
Wayne said Jamie spent so long on FaceTime video calls with his wife at the squad’s base that it was ‘almost like she was there with the team’.
Wayne Rooney of England talks with Jamie Vardy of England in June 2016 in London
He said the England players agreed before the tournament ‘we didn’t want any distractions. We didn’t want any newspaper columns.’
The row comes as the parties prepare for tomorrow’s final day of evidence in the blockbuster trial, which has captivated millions with its twists and turns, and even split households into #TeamRooney or #TeamVardy factions.
Others have obsessed over the rivals’ expensive outfits as they arrive and the often comical court sketches of Mr Rooney, whose drawn likeness while sat next to his wife has been compared to Lenin, Wayne Lineker, Mike Tyson and even the humble Maris Piper potato.
The last day will consist of closing speeches from Rebekah’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC and then his opposite number David Sherborne for Coleen.
Each is expected to last around half a day, in which the lawyers will sum up the evidence of the witnesses and try to convince the judge of the merits of their case.
There is no jury in the case and the judge’s decision is expected to be reserved for a date to be fixed, some weeks away.