Hair’s to England’s Soccer Success: Wayne Rooney and the Four-Dollar Hair Gel

In which the British tabloids play up every available opportunity to make a pun.

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REUTERS/Felix Ordonez

England's Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring a goal against Ukraine during their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match at Donbass Arena in Donetsk

The British press may be forgiven for all the terrible hair-related puns following star striker Wayne Rooney’s headed goal against Ukraine on Tuesday — it was after all key in landing England a date with Italy in the quarter-finals of the Euro 2012 soccer championships this Sunday.

Rooney’s return to the team after a two match ban was eventful not just for his goal however, but for his celebration in which he mimed spraying his hair with what’s now being deemed by some papers as England’s secret “weapon of match destruction.”

(MORE: Half-time Reflections on Euro 2012)

The four-dollar Wella Shockwaves hair gel spray was given to him by teammate Andy Carroll, whose regular style is a slicked-back ponytail (he’s blessed with considerably more hair than Rooney). After the match the England striker said: “I used a bit of Andy Carroll’s product. Hopefully I’ll end up with hair like him.”

Soccer players, like many professional sports people, are not averse to superstition, and so it seems the gel has been making its rounds in the dressing room. Sources close to the team said to the Sun tabloid: “England are gelling nicely just at the right time and the boys swear by this stuff. They’re convinced it’s their lucky charm.”

Proctor & Gamble, the makers of the “ultra strong power hold” gel, must surely be rubbing their hands in anticipated glee as they will be hoping that dedicated England fans buy-in on the product too.

There remain some doubters though – British celebrity stylist Nicky Clarke warned that Rooney should avoid that “oily look” and go instead for a “slightly matt or slightly mid-sheen” style.

The player’s hair has long been a source of fascination for the press – last year Rooney underwent a hair transplant that set him back roughly $46,700. Perhaps it’s a coincidence but his headed goals do seem to have since grown at a similar rate to the hairs on his head.

(MOREThe Tragedy of English Soccer)

England’s next challenge in the tournament is the Italians, a team well known for their thick, glossy locks. But if Rooney manages to take his team through to the semi-finals, he won’t care a jot about being outmatched in the hair department.