Former England captain John Terry has called on fans to show more respect for “great player and man” Wayne Rooney when England face Slovenia on Tuesday.
Interim England manager Gareth Southgate has dropped Rooney to the bench for the World Cup qualifier in Ljubljana.
Southgate’s decision came after Rooney was booed by a section of the crowd during the 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley on Saturday, and the 30-year-old Manchester United captain later said he was going through a “difficult period.”
But Chelsea defender Terry wrote on Instagram: “Wayne Rooney — England’s highest record goalscorer in the history of our game. Soon to be the most capped player our great country has ever produced.
“One of the very best players I have seen and had the pleasure playing with in my lifetime, and a man who has given everything for England.
“An absolute LEGEND at Everton, Man Utd, England and world football. We should all show more respect to this great player and man. Let’s all get behind Wayne and the England team tomorrow.”
Rooney’s wife Coleen took to Twitter on Monday to urge England supporters to focus on backing the team rather than criticising him.
And addressing the booing of Rooney at Wembley, Southgate said: “If you look at the number of games and his goal-scoring feats for England… I don’t quite understand that.
“Every debate focuses on him. The onus on him is enormous. The criticism of him is, at times, unfair. But he ploughs on and plays with pride, captaining his country with pride.
“I don’t understand it [the booing]. But that seems to be the landscape. I have no idea how that is expected to help him.”