Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard has blasted Manchester United hero Paul Scholes for his critical assessment of former teammate Wayne Rooney. Scholes, who retired at the end of last season, suggested Rooney has been below-par this season and may have already entered into the early stages of decline.
The former midfielder also suggested that David de Gea - who picked up Manchester United’s Player of the Season award - was by far and away the Red Devils’ standout performer in an otherwise dreadful season for the Premier League giants.
But Gerrard hit back at his former international colleague, telling reporters: “Paul Scholes is wrong. Wayne's been Manchester United's best player at home and in Europe.
"He's been in terrific form. What I've seen from his performances in the United team, his form has been really positive.
"He's in a better frame of mind going into this tournament than he's had going into previous tournament, when he's had injuries."
Rooney once again has the hopes of a nation pinned on his shoulders ahead of next month’s World Cup finals in Brazil, which get underway on June 12. The 28-year-old, who scored 19 goals in 40 appearances for the Red Devils this season, has been working tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to ensure he enters the showpiece international tournament in top physical condition.
The United forward - who currently sits fifth in the list of England’s all-time top scorers, two goals short of Michael Owen - is expected to line up in the Three Lions’ first World Cup warm-up match against Peru at Wembley Stadium this evening.
England then play Ecuador and Honduras next Wednesday and Saturday, respectively, before their first World Cup group stage match against Italy on June 14.