England midfielder Jordan Henderson has defended Wayne Rooney after the captain was booed by supporters at Wembley during Saturday’s 2-0 win against Malta.
Rooney played alongside Henderson in a midfield role and was criticised by a section of fans during the game, which interim manager Gareth Southgate said he could not understand.
But the Liverpool skipper noted the Manchester United player has come through periods of criticism before and backed his team-mate to shine.
“Wayne’s experienced enough to know he has to concentrate on his football,” said Henderson after the World Cup qualifying clash.
“I think he’s had criticism for most of his career, like many players have.
“He deals with it very well. He’s our captain and our leader. He’s a fantastic player for Manchester United and England.
“I didn’t really hear any boos, but we have to deal with it as professional footballers. There is going to be criticism along the way.”
Henderson added he can see why fans would be frustrated with England after their disappointing performances at Euro 2016, when they suffered a shock exit to Iceland in the first knockout round.
“We just have to focus on what is important as a team,” Henderson said. “That’s staying together and winning games.
“I said during the week the fans had a right to criticise after the way we went out of the Euros. Not only the Euros but in the World Cup as well.
“We’ve got to take the criticism and we deserve it. But I feel as though they know we are a good team and want us to do well.
“It’s up to us to put in good performances and win games.”