Interim manager Gareth Southgate handed the 30-year-old a chance to impress in a deep-lying midfield role after being dropped by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Rooney, however, produced another confidence-sapped, turgid performance against the minnow side, prompting some sections of the Wembley crowd to boo the captain.
According to Sky Sports, the Englishman told close friends that he was ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ by the open derision that came his way, but insisted he was still committed to serving the national side.
Wanting Rooney to be sidelined is one thing; actively booing him, however, is quite another thing.
Alongside many others, I have called for Rooney’s omission from the starting XI – for both club and country – for a number of years now, but the idea of going to Old Trafford and shouting taunts at one of my own players – our captain, for christ sake – is just laughable.
Of course, every supporter has a right to demonstrate disapproval, but what do you really get out of booing one of your own players? It doesn’t help the team, the atmosphere, or the player in question (obviously) – nor does it really help the person booing. Jeering doesn’t change anything; it’s simply Orwellian.
Even if you don’t agree with a player’s presence on the pitch, it should be a rule of thumb that, once the whistle blows, you get behind them, and save your derision for the aftermath.