Wayne Rooney was not demoted nor forced to train with the England reserves, according to renowned commentator Richard Keys, as the Manchester United forward was simply undergoing the routine in order to enhance his fitness.
Keys said: "Despite reports to the contrary, Rooney wasn't 'forced' to train with the 'reserves' yesterday. He's been doing it as part of [a] fitness plan."
He added: "Whilst the debate rages about Rooney, here's another statistic for you - more distance covered than anybody on the pitch in the Italy match. More high intensity runs than anybody. More touches in the penalty box for England apart from Daniel Sturridge and that is pretty good evidence for work.
"I don't understand why we're trying to destroy our best player. How happy will we be when he calls it a day rather than [the national manager not selecting him]. It's potty," Keys concluded.
Whilst the media and fan backlash toward Rooney is by no means a landslide consensus of views, it is certainly enough to echo from British pages all the way to Rio de Janeiro, as the player himself has been made aware of the criticism.
Responding, Rooney said on his Facebook page: "I said from the start I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready for these World Cup games and as part of that I was doing extra training a week before the squad joined up. That’s exactly what I did yesterday, my own extra training because that’s what I wanted to do."