Nobody should be criticising Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney because of what he has achieved in the game, according to Jesse Lingard.
The winger – recalled to the England squad and hoping to win his first senior cap in the World Cup qualifier against Malta on Saturday – does not feel his skipper at club and international level has deserved to receive negative publicity for his performances.
Rooney has lost his place in United’s starting XI and has also seen his position for the national team questioned despite being kept on as captain after Euro 2016 by former manager Sam Allardyce and new interim boss Gareth Southgate.
“I think that really because [of what he’s achieved] no one can say anything [bad] about him really,” Lingard said about England’s record goalscorer.
“He’s determined to get back and hopefully he can do that. I think he’s very determined.
“Even though he hasn’t been playing for the club, he’s still supporting us and he’s going to get back into the fold.
“He’s remained captain here which is great and that will be great for his confidence as well.
“I’ve known Wayne for a long time and he’s very determined to play. He’s got a love for the game which hasn’t left him.
“He’s been a top professional on and off the field for us and we look up to him as well.
“For the club he’s a great leader for us – as young lads we can speak to him whenever we want and he always helps the young lads, which is good. He’s been doing it now for a couple of years.”
Rooney has only scored once in 11 appearances for United and England in 2016-17.
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