Gerrard insists Wayne Rooney is still a world class player

Former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has defended Wayne Rooney amidst criticism of England’s performances at Euros in France. The LA Galaxy midfielder believes that Rooney still is the main man for the Three Lions and will play a crucial part for them as the tournament progresses.

Rooney was dropped to the bench by Roy Hodgson in the final group stage game against Slovakia which resulted in a goalless draw, but England were through to the last 16 after finishing second behind Wales in the Group B. Rooney delivered good performances in the first two games against Russia and Wales.

People doubting Rooney are wrong

Gerrard, who retired from international football in 2014, admitted that his former teammate will be key for this young England side if they want to achieve great things this summer. Rooney has seen a change in role at both club and country level as he is being deployed in the midfield. The Manchester United captain has shown maturity in that role and tried to be the engine of the team.

Gerrard insisted that “the people who doubt Wayne are wrong.” In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Gerrard further added that “he is still a world-class player and can decide a game alone.” The former England captain insisted that players like Rooney are important for England at Euros.

Rooney has played in midfield for England | Photo: Michael Regan/The FA
Rooney has played in midfield for England | Photo: Michael Regan/The FA

Rooney has entertained England for a long time

Rooney became England’s all-time top scorer as he broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 goals last year. The forward is also four goals shy of Charlton’s record for Manchester United, 249. The change in role has deserted him from finding the goals as he now works hard to assist his teammates.

Gerrard believes that “Rooney has entertained the fans in England for years.” He further admitted that he is “the leading scorer of the country and England need him at Euros.” England are gearing up to face Iceland in the round of 16 and Hodgson will be hoping that Rooney remains their talisman in the upcoming match.