John Terry: Wayne Rooney is a legend and deserves more respect

by Leo Nieboer

Chelsea captain John Terry has come out in defence of Wayne Rooney following the 30-year-old’s omission from England’s starting XI for their game with Slovenia on Tuesday night.

A series of woeful performances under Jose Mourinho has led to Rooney’s exclusion from the starting XI at Manchester United in recent weeks.

And despite receiving a chance to impress against Malta, the Englishman will be forced to watch on from the bench in Ljubljana.

Terry, who played alongside Rooney for nine years at international level, believes the captain deserves more respect.

Wayne Rooney England’s highest record goalscorer in the history of our game. Soon to be the most capped player our great country has ever produced,” he said.

“One of the very best players I have seen and had the pleasure playing with in my lifetime and a man who has given everything for England.

“An absolute legend at Everton, Man Utd, England and world football. We should all show more respect to this great player and man. Let’s all get behind Wayne and the England team.”

The derision piled on Rooney in recent weeks has been, even from the viewpoint of one of his staunchest critics, a bit harsh.

This is merely a player entering the closing stages of his career. Since the age of 16, he has played no fewer than 42 games a season, and his body is simply incapable of weathering the hefty demands of top-level football for much longer.

Yes, he should have been dropped a long time ago, and now – finally – he has been consigned to bench – a far more appropriate place for the dilapidated Englishman. And now that he’s where he belongs, United fans can withhold their vehemence towards the captain. This isn’t a ‘don’t kick a man when he’s down’ plea; it’s more of a ‘don’t kick a man when there’s no more need’ kind of plea.

He is, just like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs before him, settling in to a more sporadic role, and supporters ought to acknowledge the fact that such a transition happens to everyone, no matter what you’ve achieved throughout your career.

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