Rooney signs record book deal with HarperCollins

March 10, 2006

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Manchester United's 20-year-old England striker Wayne Rooney has signed one of the biggest sports book deals in publishing history, agreeing to write five books over the next 12 years.

British media reported the deal with HarperCollins was worth at least £5million but a spokeswoman for the publishers would only say it was a 'substantial figure'.

HarperCollins said the first book would be released in July and cover this year's World Cup in Germany. The following books will cover the rest of his career.

Rooney emerged as one of the outstanding players at Euro 2004 and will carry the hopes of a nation once more when he lines up for the start of the World Cup in June.

His colourful off-pitch antics - including visits to brothels - have also made him a regular fixture on the tabloid front pages, where he is often pictured with his girlfriend Coleen.

'The last few years have been brilliant for me and I'm very excited about bringing out my first book this year and all the other books that will follow,' he said in a statement.

England captain David Beckham, more written about than writer, has won a British Book Award honour for his autobiography 'My Side' which became the UK's best-selling sporting autobiography.

HarperCollins, a unit of News Corp, said they were delighted with the Rooney deal. But not everyone was so impressed.

The British media questioned how one person could fill five books and the Daily Telegraph questioned how interesting they would be.

'So look forward to chapter one,' the Telegraph wrote, 'My name is Wayne and I like football and chips. And football. And chips. And beans sometimes.'