Steven Gerrard defends Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney over Euro displays
England captain Steven Gerrard believes it is "unfair" to blame Wayne Rooney for the Three Lions' Euro 2012 exit
Steven Gerrard has defended Wayne Rooney after the Manchester United striker was criticised for his performances at the European championship.
The 26-year-old striker scored in a 1-0 victory over Ukraine in the final group stage match but struggled in the quarter-final against Italy after missing England’s opening two games through suspension.
Rooney netted 27 goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils last season, and the striker has been instrumental in the success at Old Trafford since joining in 2004.
But Gerrard believes there was an unrealistic expectation placed on the former Everton forward in Poland and Ukraine.
“I just think that ever since Wayne has been around, and because of his performances in Euro 2004, there is an expectation that he comes to these tournaments and wins them all on his own,” Gerrard told the Sun on Sunday.
“I just think that’s unfair – especially when it goes wrong and people then point to Wayne and his performances and blame him. But the responsibility has to be on all 23 players.
“It’s unfair to look at Wayne and say because he didn’t play well it’s the reason why we haven’t won.
“I’ve mentioned on many occasions that at this level the biggest thing is to play without expectation, without fear.
“So it’s only normal that at times Wayne is brought down because of that expectation, because everyone expects and wants him to do well.”
Rooney has scored 29 goals in 76 appearances for England since making his debut against Australia in 2003.
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