Manchester United's Robin van Persie has come to the defence of Wayne Rooney after England were eliminated from the World Cup after only two matches.
Narrow defeats to Italy and Uruguay meant minnows Costa Rica beating both those opponents sent the Three Lions crashing out of the tournament and had many commentators turning on the Old Trafford star, but Van Persie disputed this criticism and claimed the opposite was actually true.
Rooney was actually a success
Rooney was criticised after a subdued performance on the left in the opening defeat against the Italians, but he did set up the equaliser for Daniel Sturridge in that match and hit a good chance just the wrong side of the post.
Defensive mistakes handed Luis Suarez two goals in the loss to Uruguay on Thursday, but Rooney equalised in that game, produced a good save from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and hit the crossbar with an extremely difficult close-range header - all of which proves, Van Persie believes, that he was actually quite good.
"I don't think you can blame him for scoring a goal, working his socks off and missing three chances by inches," he told reporters at a press conference.
"If you look at his performances, the things I've seen and heard were very good. He played as a left winger, gave the assist for the 1-1 against Italy and played well as far as I know."
Holland have already confirmed their progression into the next round with a 5-1 thrashing of defending champions Spain and a less-convincing 3-2 victory over a spirited Australian side, with Van Persie bagging three goals in the process.
A great player
He has been a huge success since making a contentious switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford and his comments suggested many England fans need to appreciate the quality of Rooney more.
"Wayne is a great player and part of why I came to Manchester United," he added.
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