Experts recreate face of medieval monk and claim he looks just like Wayne Rooney

Experts have recreated a medieval monk's face and reckon he looks like an older Wayne Rooney.

The former England striker's doppelganger is said to have the same ears and "looks like a man who was not to be trifled with".

He was the powerful 15th century Abbot John of Wheathampstead was also known for his "ruddy complexion".

His skeleton was discovered during excavations for a new visitor centre at St Albans Cathedral in December 2017.

Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University were surprised to discover something "faintly familiar" after digitally reconstructing his face using his well-preserved skull.

Project leader Professor Caroline Wilkinson, director of Face Lab, said the avatar has the same ears as the 34-year-old Derby County skipper.

But she admitted "it's not an exact science" and reckons he looks more like Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev or former Labour home secretary John Reid.

Visitors are being invited to have a look at the image in a new display at the cathedral starting on Friday and “look into the eyes of this medieval monk”.

The dean of St Albans, Jeffrey John, said: “He has an impish look, but also looks like a man who was not to be trifled with, as befits one of the most powerful ecclesiastical fixers of his day.

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“I hope that seeing him in his human reality will raise interest in his life, and in the central role St Albans Abbey has played in this country.”

Prof Wilkinson, who has also reconstructed the faces of Robert the Bruce, Johann Sebastian Bach, Saint Nicholas, Richard III, and Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe, said: “I don’t think it looks like anyone in particular. He’s got a very characteristic face. He looks like he’s lived a good life.

"I would never have said that he looks like Rooney. He’s got big ears so I can see there’s a link there. He looks more like Gorbachev, there are similar proportions to the face.”

“The more information we have, the better a reconstruction is going to be. We’re going for the most likely appearance, and that means working with all the information we have so it’s as accurate an estimation as possible. It’s not an exact science.

“Everything we do from an anatomical perspective and a shape perspective is directly from skeletal analysis, so the shape of the face is 100% based on the skull. What we call textural information comes from additional sources, so that would include skin, eye and hair colour, hairstyle, scars, moles, wrinkles, clothing. Those are all the things that you can’t possibly know from the skull.”

The image was created from CT scans and historical details about the abbot such as his "ruddy complexion".

But the researchers insist any resemblance to the famous footballer are entirely coincidental.

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