Former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke has criticised England interim boss Gareth Southgate’s treatment of Wayne Rooney.
After Three Lions captain Rooney was booed by sections of the home crowd during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley, Southgate confirmed at a press conference on Monday – with the 30-year-old sat alongside him – that he would be left out of the first XI for Tuesday’s match in Slovenia.
Rooney, who is his country’s all-time top-scorer with 53 goals, subsequently came on for the last 17 minutes of the 0-0 draw in Ljubljana.
Yorke told 888sport: “People forget he’s the greatest English player and the goals he has scored.
“We’ve all gone through spells where you’re not playing well and it’s a real battle, but the way people have talked about him is really disrespectful.
“It’s a real difficult time because he’s asked to play all these different positions and gets all the flak he does, yet he tries his hardest every single game.
“Then you get people like Gareth Southgate taking him out of the team because of the pressure from the media and I think that’s wrong especially coming off the back of a positive result.
“Sometimes you have to show people a little faith and for Gareth Southgate to make that call, well I thought that was a little strange.
“To then put him in front of the media to face the music and say he isn’t going to play was disrespectful and a disgrace in my opinion.”
Rooney, also the United skipper, has been left out of the starting line-up for his club’s last three matches as well, although Yorke is not questioning that decision by Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.
“It’s a different situation at club level,” said Yorke, a United player from 1998 to 2002.
“His England performances have been stronger than his performances for Manchester United. Anyone can see that he’s struggled there this season and sometimes it’s not a bad thing to take a back seat.
“Where England are concerned he has not been the worst player on the pitch by any standards and you have a young manager like Southgate trying to make an impression but you need someone like Wazza around to keep things in check.”