Nearly three quarters of the population (73%) believes that high profile footballers have a duty to set good standards of behaviour, a recent survey on behalf of the Sun newspaper has found.
The results come after photographs emerged last weekend of Manchester United star Wayne Rooney smoking, chanting football songs in the street and urinating against a wall after a night out with wife Coleen and friends.
While the majority of the British public believes footballers like Rooney do have a duty to set good standards, a significant minority (23%) thinks that footballers should be able to behave however they wish as long as it does not affect their game or break the law.
With reports in some national newspapers this week that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to discipline the striker, nearly half of the public would support this action, with 49% saying that they thought that Manchester United should take action against Rooney for his action off the pitch. A significant 33% disagreed.
More older people than younger people believe that footballers have a responsibility to be good role models. 81% of those aged 60 and over believe that high profile footballers have a duty to set good standards of behaviour, compared to just 50% of 18-24 year olds.
Similarly, 61% of those aged 60 and over think Manchester United should take action against Wayne Rooney for his action off the pitch compared to a smaller 32% of 18-24 year olds.