Rooney (left) scored an impressive 34 goals last season
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney is feeling the strain of the scrutiny he is under.
Rooney, 24, hit the headlines because of recent allegations of his private life and has scored one goal in four games for United so far this season.
"I don't believe he has a confidence problem," Ferguson told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
"But he is starting to realise finally, without any question, what kind of focus is on him as a human being."
Rooney scored 34 goals last season but looked a shadow of himself during a dismal World Cup campaign with England in South Africa.
He has also struggled for form on the domestic front with the Old Trafford club and was left out of the 3-3 draw at former club Everton in the wake of the allegations about his private life.
He [Rooney] would like to keep playing with freedom, but the siege of the tabloids can wear out anyone
Sir Alex Ferguson
"He is realising what it means to be at the centre of media attention for non-football-related questions," added Ferguson.
"I don't think the boy can turn a corner at the moment without a camera on him. He can't move without the paparazzi being on him and, for a young person, that is not what you want.
"You want to play and enjoy your football without that attention on you, because that can be quite exhausting.
"He would like to keep playing with freedom, but the siege of the tabloids can wear out anyone."
Manchester United are currently four points behind leaders and champions Chelsea, who have a 100% record after five games, in the Premier League but Ferguson insists that the Londoners have been fortunate in terms of their fixtures.
"West Brom, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool. It feels as though Chelsea chose the calendar. Incredible," said the Scot.
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