Wayne Rooney has called on the media to back down from their witch hunt against Raheem Sterling, insisting the Manchester City star has shown a 'great attitude' in England training.
The 22-year-old has become something of a scapegoat during the European Championships and frequently suffers the brunt of criticism from England fans active on social media.
Sterling started England's first two games in Group B but failed to make much of an impact against either Russia or Wales and was subsequently dropped for the final game against Slovakia for Daniel Sturridge.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
It has since been suggested by some media outlets that senior England staff are concerned with Sterling's state of mind and have told the young winger to stay off social media and get stuck into rekindling his best form.
But Rooney has rejected that report, saying there has been no problem with Sterling's application, even revealing that he frequently stays later than most of his team-mates to practice more.
State of mind
“From what I’ve seen his state of mind has been fine,” the England captain told a pre-match press conference on Sunday.
“He’s been his usual self around the camp. He’s been the usual Raheem.
“His attitude has been great, and he’s a huge asset to us because he can change a game in a split second. He sticks around after the training to do extra work, and if anyone is questioning his attitude or state of mind, it would be wrong of them.”
The Dropped One
In an attempt to rest some of his star players, Roy Hodgson made six changes for the 0-0 stalemate against Slovakia with Rooney, Sterling, Kyle Walker, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Danny Rose all given a respite.
The latest reports suggest five of those will return to the starting XI for Monday's game against Iceland. The one who will remain on the bench is, of course, Sterling with his former Liverpool team-mate Sturridge set to keep his place on the right-wing.