Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes Wayne Rooney should not have started for England against Malta on Saturday night.
Rooney was handed a starting role in a deep-lying midfield position but failed to impress and was handed a 4/10 in TEAMtalk’s player ratings as the Three Lions laboured to a 2-0 win at Wembley.
Rooney struggled to impose himself on their minnow opponents and could have been booked in the first half for a reckless tackle, which went unpunished, but Parker, 52, says the United and England skipper should not have played.
“He’s been a starter for Manchester United when he shouldn’t have been,” said Parker on BBC radio.
“It has changed now. When I was playing, under Bobby Robson, if you weren’t playing for your club you wouldn’t play for your country.
“If we’re going on form, Wayne shouldn’t be playing,” added Parker, who in February claimed Tim Sherwood would be a better option than Jose Mourinho as manager at Old Trafford.
“To suggest that [Mourinho] could walk in to a crisis situation at United and turn it around is absurd,” Parker wrote in his Eurosport column.
“That’s something he’s never done in his career, and this really wouldn’t be the time to start. He’s lost a huge amount of respect in the game, and I suspect the players at United hate the idea of him taking over.
“Frankly, given how unhappy the players are right now, they’d be better off bringing in Tim Sherwood between now and the end of the season: someone to soft soap the players, give them a bit of a cuddle, get them feeling good about themselves once again.”
Rooney has been axed from United’s last three games by Jose Mourinho and he will likely take his place on the bench for next Sunday’s date against Liverpool at Anfield.
His poor form has prompted calls for Rooney, who signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract in February 2014 , to consider his future and Sun journalist Charlie Wyett believes the time is right for him to move on.
“It’s not going to happen, but I think Rooney, next summer, should look at leaving United and play somewhere for the next year in that position every week, in central midfield,” Wyett told Sunday Supplement.
“United, I assume, are not going to want him to go, and Wayne Rooney is not going to want to leave Manchester United. But, in terms of England, if he is going to play in that position then he has to be playing there every week otherwise he’s not going to perform for England. So, as a result, I think he should be on the bench and not start the England games.”
Rooney was booed by part of the 80,000 home crowd – a fact which angered former England and United defender Rio Ferdinand who called it a “liberty”.
Its that time again guys…@waynerooney spotlight! Booing at the stadium too…come on guys, booing?? Liberty.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 9, 2016