England captain Wayne Rooney feels he got “slaughtered” after former manager Sam Allardyce claimed he “played wherever he wanted” against Slovakia last month.
Allardyce, who lost his job last week following a Daily Telegraph investigation into football corruption, raised eyebrows with his comment that England’s record goalscorer had been given a free role after the 1-0 win in Trnava.
And Rooney had his say on the matter on Tuesday.
“It was a bit of misunderstanding after the last game, when Sam came out and said I play where I want. I played exactly to instructions. I didn’t come in and say, ‘I want to play here or there’. That was a big misunderstanding that I seemed to get slaughtered for.”
He continued: ”I got battered in many different ways for my performance, which I felt was actually a decent performance.
”He knew he had made a mistake. He said that to me on the plane home. That’s part of being involved at this level. He understood that quite early and unfortunately he doesn’t have the chance to rectify that now.”
Interim manager Gareth Southgate will oversee the next four matches – against Malta and Slovenia in the current international break and Scotland and Spain next month – and Rooney is determined to prove he is anything but finished, for both club and country.
“No,” the 30-year-old responded when asked if his career was coming to an end after being dropped to the bench for three straight Manchester United matches.
“It is part of football. It is the challenge and I am determined to get back in the team at club level.
“I think people have their opinions. I have said it many times, people are entitled to their opinions.
“Does it gee you up? Of course it does. It’s almost like going to an audition when you get turned down – you want to prove yourself to people.
“I am a fighter. I want to get back in the team. I will work hard to try and do that, so that is where I am at. I am sure people who know me know I will come back.”
While Rooney fights his personal battle, England as a whole must adapt to another change of manager following the dramatic end to Allardyce’s reign after a solitary match.
Coming so soon after the Euro 2016 embarrassment against Iceland under Roy Hodgson, it led former England captains Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand to suggest the team had become a source of amusement in world football.
Rose: England ARE a laughing stock
Full-back Danny Rose accepts he cannot argue with that view.
“I saw Alan Shearer say English football has become a laughing stock and it’s hard to say but I agree a bit, with a manager losing his job after one game,” the Tottenham player said.
“It’s not good in any sense and whatever stance the FA take after the four games (under Southgate), I hope the next England manager will be one for the long term and help us to improve a bit in tournaments.
“When Roy Hodgson lost his job, we were all there together. It was a sad experience because we all knew and we saw Roy’s face at the time.
“With Sam, it came from nowhere. I was just thinking ‘who will it be now?’.
“I don’t want to say it’s a mess, but it’s not nice for English football.”