Sir Alex Ferguson has suggested Wayne Rooney's form for Manchester United has suffered as he is struggling to cope with the intense media scrutiny surrounding his private life.
Rooney has been left "exhausted" by the focus currently on him following newspaper allegations surrounding his private life.
The 24-year-old is the reigning PFA Players' Player of the Year following his 34-goal haul last season but has looked a pale shadow of the striker that terrorised Premier League defences last term.
Rooney, who was also below-par for England at the World Cup, was taken out of the firing line by Ferguson for the return to former club Everton two weeks ago.
"I don't believe he has a confidence problem. The boy is starting to realise probably, finally, without any question, what kind of focus is on him as a human being," said Ferguson while speaking to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I don't think the boy can turn without a camera on him but, for a young person, that is not what you want.
"You want to play and enjoy your football without that attention. That can be quite exhausting."
Rooney has not scored from open play for United in five appearances this season.
His only goal came via the penalty spot in a 3-0 victory over West Ham United last month.