Gareth Southgate says he doesn't understand Wayne Rooney criticism

GETTYNicky Butt earned his first Premier league appearance for Manchester United as a teenager in 1992/93

Gareth Southgate says he has no issue making big selection decisions amid pressure to drop England captain Wayne Rooney.

Rooney was barracked by a small but audible section of the 81,000 crowd during Saturday's 2-0 win over Malta, most noticeably when he sent a late shot high and wide.

Southgate has made it clear that no player is guaranteed a starting place in his side. Maybe this will go down as a mark against Southgate when the next full-time manager is being considered - as might his decision to rule himself out of the running in the summer - because if you can't get a team to go out and score some goals against a Malta side who ship goals in every game then what's the point? Part of that is because we've got 30 per cent of the Premier League eligible for England.

"You look at the bench [against Malta] and there are guys who are playing every week in the Premier League, so you have to be prepared to do that (make tough decisions)".

"It seems to me that someone is saying Wayne Rooney has to play", Parker said on BBC Radio Scotland.

Team-mate Jordan Henderson said Rooney "put in a fantastic performance". If we win 4-0, 5-0 or 1-0, it's the exact same result and that's what matters most. The main issue, and this could have been predicted before the game by anyone who has taken even a passing interest in English soccer over the last few months, was Wayne Rooney.

Alli was playing just off Daniel Sturridge up front and knew that he had to leave the engine-room work to Jordan Henderson and Wayne Rooney. I think he should get the job.

Rooney will dominate the build-up to Tuesday's match in Ljubljana, having last week admitted Jose Mourinho was right to drop him at Manchester United following an terrible display at Watford.

"He's had criticism through a lot of his career, like a lot of players have, and he deals with it very well". It was a game where we'd dictate the tempo and his (Rooney) experience, his leadership have been crucial throughout this week, not just today. "I am a bit shocked that [booing] happened", he told reporters.

Some other players have not put themselves forward at those moments and withdrawn from squads when the going has got tough. He got on the ball well, and broke it up too to win it back for us'.

"I think in the second half sub-consciously we had the feeling the game was won and we were looking towards Tuesday (and the next qualifier in Slovenia) physically", he said.

"In my opinion he is always up there, he is always on form, the top players are always going to get the stick that gets piled on them because of the standards they set".



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