Manchester United captain Chris Smalling has spoken out in defence of Wayne Rooney, after he was dropped by Jose Mourinho over the weekend.
The defender insisted that Rooney is still the club’s “main man” on and off the pitch, following criticism from fans.
“Whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that’s why he is England’s main man and our main man,” Smalling told the BBC.
Rooney himself also spoke about the criticism during an interview with MUTV, saying: “Yeah, I think I’ve had that my whole career – a little bit more of late, I think, but that’s football.
“I listen to my coaches and my team-mates, the people around me, and I don’t really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.”
Rooney was dropped from the Manchester United starting line-up for their 4-1 win against Leicester on Saturday, and could play a reduced role in the side this season.
The selection came after a United fan went viral after slamming the “chubby” Manchester United captain.
‘Keith from Wilmslow’ got some attention online after criticising him for poor performances this season.
“His touch is awful, he looks a bit chubby to me, he’s not covering the ground quick enough to chase the ball and press,” he added.
“His touch is awful, he looks a bit chubby to me.”
“So, he can’t play up front and then putting that player with those faults in midfield is causing us to have a bad season.”
Keith added: “[Pundits have] got these rose-tinted glasses on about how good he’s been for the club and how we’ll find a position for him, and not to write him off.”
Whether you agree with the comments or not, you can’t deny Rooney has achieved some great things over the course of his career.