'He gave his all for his country' - club team-mate defends Rooney

Wayne Rooney Euro 2012 England

Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie has been vocal in his support for club team-mate Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United striker has emerged as a popular scape goat for the national side, who have crashed out of the World Cup group stages for the first time in 56 years.

The England international’s recent performances have come under fire, particularly following the Three Lions' opening Group D defeat to Italy. 

Rooney was largely condemned following his display in this match, despite being played out-of-position. He was afforded little room for error by the expectant England fans, who were quick to make their opinions known.

However, Van Persie, himself enjoying a fine World Cup with the Netherlands, has hit back at the 28-year-old's critics.

"Wayne is a great player. I came to Manchester United to play with him and I've never regretted that move," he said.

"By training and playing with him, he's shown me that he is a world class player. He was under a lot of pressure but he has been since he made his debut.

"If you look at his performances he's been very good. He played as a left winger [against Italy] and made the assist [for Daniel Sturridge's goal]. Against Uruguay I  think he did well again.

"I don't think you can blame him for scoring one goal, working his socks off and missing three chances by inches because they were just inches and I don't think it's him to blame.

"He gave his all for his country like he always does. He's a great player and a great goalscorer so I don't think it's fair to criticise him that much.”

The Dutchman’s World Cup experience at this stage couldn’t be any further from that of Rooney’s. Under incoming Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal, the Netherlands have won their first two group matches, scoring an impressive eight goals in total.

The highlight of the Oranje’s tournament so far came I'm their group B opener, as Van Persie and company brushed aside the defending world and European champions Spain by a score-line of five goals to one.

With qualification to the knock-out phase assured, the Dutch are now preparing to take on Chile in order to decide a group winner. England, on the other hand, will play their final match against Costa Rica next Tuesday, before returning home with their tails between their legs.

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