Ronald Koeman’s message must be clear: One more misdemeanour and you are out at Everton.
Wayne Rooney’s private life has been spread all over the front and back pages of the newspapers over the weekend, due to his drink-drive charge and everything else that came with it.
Another remarkable night out in Cheshire, after the start to the season he’s had – scoring twice in his first two Premier League games for Everton, is this the Rooney the supporters will have to learn to accept?
The honeymoon period is over; the holiday glow is now replaced by the redness of his cheeks from another intoxicating all-night bender from the Bubble Room in Alderley Edge to the Symposium cocktail bar in Wilmslow.
This is the self-destructive streak in him: a man that has lived on the edge to get to where he is today, in need of a release from the pressure of being Wayne Rooney. But he is also the father of three who is clearly ill-advised and keeps the wrong company.
This should be the first international window in a long time that we’re not talking about the former England captain, and yet here we are on the day Gareth Southgate’s men hope to move ever closer to Russia with victory over Slovakia: talking about Wayne Rooney.
The latest sorry episode has flared up and prompted a certain amount of dismay within the Rooney household, but also at Everton.
Ronald Koeman is probably wondering now what he’s let himself in for by bringing him back. It’s depressingly sad, weeks after he looked revived from a move back to his boyhood club. Fifty-three days later, it’s all gone wrong already.
Rooney now faces the prospect of a court appearance just 24 hours after his return to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. What state of mind will he be in for that? It’s a self-inflicted mess.
The emotional bond Evertonians have for Rooney will not wash for long should he continue to transgress after a big investment was placed in him, a decade after his peak.
After years being in the spotlight, and criticised for his waning powers towards the end of his time at United, the one big hope for fans at Goodison Park was that the local lad had learned to act like the consummate professional, stung by past transgressions such as his wedding appearance at the England team hotel last October.
A figure that had established himself as a record goalscorer for England and United, a captain, Koeman didn’t for one moment believe he was bringing back the tearaway teenager of 2004 but a man who could inspire those around him to have not won the Champions League medal he has in his cabinet.
Rooney was supposed to be wiser, as well as leaner from intense spinning classes following his return from Ibiza.
But no sooner has the first international break arrived, that Rooney is in the dock again. The self-destructive element is still there. What might he have achieved had he not had this laddish tendency?
Perhaps not quite the honours of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The records and the achievements are great, but could he have achieved more? Quite possibly.
Kevin Mirallas was left out of the Everton squad to face Chelsea before the international break due to his attitude, not due to talk of a transfer back to Olympiacos. With no striker bought to replace Romelu Lukaku, Koeman has very little option.
England have had problems over the years with players refuelling, with the nation unable to reproduce the form seen at club level, but Everton cannot afford this.
The public were scathing of the media when pictures emerged of Rooney enjoying drinks at a wedding reception after the win over Scotland, even though the pictures were taken by another member of the public.
There were calls to ‘give Rooney a break’. But as much as we love Rooney, we cannot condone the potential breaking of the law.
What good could transfer listing the player, fining him two weeks wages, or dropping him do? Koeman won’t have been impressed, but as he returns from a long weekend on holiday with his family, will he be surprised?
Rooney had his boxing bout in his kitchen, among other scraps, so this is hardly likely to be a knockout blow barely a month into the season, but the fear for Rooney the man is that when he does choose to hang up his boots, what path shall he take.
He has spoken of a desire to manage England one day, but there’s been other incidents no doubt that haven’t made the papers. Rooney has done a good job to detach those off-field issues given his records. No-one is perfect, but it is so apparent that Rooney isn’t.
The striker opted to call time on his international career citing a desire to focus on Everton, believing he could get another three years at the highest level out of his legs.
But if he’s going to do that, he will have to look at the way he conducts himself off the pitch. The era of when players drink in excess no doubt still exists, but nowhere near like it used to.
There will certainly have been players from League One and League Two clubs on Saturday night who enjoyed themselves whatever the result.
But there’s also a wave of youngsters coming through at lower level who are teetotal, aware of the pitfalls and the rewards further down the line that might await.
Rooney is 31. He knows the game, he’s lived through it, and has been left behind. The role model debate rears its head again.
They are those held up to a higher standard, and if Everton wanted to sign Rooney for commercial reasons as much as anything else, he is the face of a club that has in turn been tarnished.
He is the self-proclaimed poster boy, and he has been representative of the local hero done good ever since he made his senior debut for the club, against Tottenham – the side he is in line to face in his first public appearance since his charge this Saturday.
Will the rest of the Everton squad welcome him upon the first training session following the international break?
Of course they will. And that’s the truth. There will be an acceptance perhaps of double standards when it comes to Rooney when he should only be the exception based on what he has achieved compared to his team-mates.
He’s a different breed, when he should be treated no different to how Mirallas was, dropped for his attitude, right down to a member of David Unsworth’s Under 23s squad.
You wonder about Rooney’s legacy: Will he be remembered for his goals or the lurid headlines? Yet he remains a popular figure with the nation willing him to do well.
Just witness the outpouring of delight from neutrals who felt Rooney’s emotion when he scored on his home return against Stoke, seeing how much it meant to him in his celebrations.
The flawed genius of the man is something that has come with the territory, but while Rooney was disposable at United, he should not take his importance to Everton for granted.
While there is ongoing and live court proceedings Everton are not likely to fine Rooney for risk of pre-judging any trial outcome.
But while no external punishment may be forthcoming until after the verdict, the club have already been placed in an embarrassing situation. Dropping him against Spurs would send out a clear message.