Jesse Lingard is being applauded for backing Marcus Rashford after the 18-year-old got into a scuffle during England’s 0-0 draw against Slovenia last night.
Players from both teams came to blows after a strong challenge from Gary Cahill, with Slovenia’s Aljaz Struna appearing to grab Rashford’s neck.
This sparked a reaction from Lingard, who began to shout in Struna’s direction.
It was Lingard’s natural response to stick up not just for his Manchester United teammate, but for an inexperienced 18-year-old. Most can understand that.
However, most can’t understand Wayne Rooney’s reaction to the brawl.
The much-maligned United man was benched by Gareth Southgate following another below-par performance against Malta.
When he did enter the pitch, in the 73rd minute, Rooney took the captain’s armband from Jordan Henderson. But he didn’t show any leadership skills after the scuffle unfolded.
Instead of backing Rashford, like Lingard did, Rooney instead stood about helplessly.
Rooney, 31, has been involved in enough altercations over the years and perhaps he figured that getting involved wasn’t helpful to the situation.
But it still would have been nice to see him display some passion and unity.
Lost the bite
Former United striker Teddy Sheringhman recently said Rooney had lost his “bite and spark”, and nowhere was that more evident than in Slovenia last night.
"I've been saying for a long time now that Wayne Rooney doesn't have the bite and spark he had about five years ago,” Sheringham told talkSPORT, per ESPN FC. “Without that horrible nastiness, he's half the player.
"He has got to ask himself some serious questions. What is it that makes him a great player? For me, that is it.
"If he can get that back, if he can start performing on the edge again, which made him who he was, then I think you've still got a player there but I haven't seen that for the last 18 months to two years."