Stones: Rooney always brilliant while playing for England

Stones: Rooney always brilliant while playing for England

The Score - EPL Soccer

John Stones is the latest England representative to pledge his support to Wayne Rooney, saying that the national team skipper is consistently "brilliant" on the international stage.

Jordan Henderson has already claimed Rooney's a "fantastic player" after a portion of the 81,000 that attended the Three Lions' underwhelming 2-0 defeat of Malta on Saturday jeered the skipper's travails in midfield.

Although deployed as a forward for the majority of his career, the Scouser has been slotted into a deeper position in the wake of his reduced potency in front of goal and the emergence of the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge in the England attack. By the treatment coming from his own fans, though, it doesn't appear to be going very well for the Manchester United man.

"I thought Wayne was brilliant. He has been every time he has played for England," said Stones, 22, who plies his trade with archrival Manchester City.

With 53 goals to his name, Rooney is his country's all-time leading scorer and has captained the squad since Steven Gerrard retired from the international game after the 2014 World Cup. But just one goal in 12 appearances this season, and one strike in his last seven national team showings, have led to calls for his dropping for a more in-form compatriot.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives 110 percent and you can see that in every performance," continued Stones. "I am a bit shocked that the booing happened.

"He is always up there and on form. The top players are always going to get the stick that gets piled on them because of the standards he sets."

Though on paper England's World Cup qualification campaign doesn't appear to be the most enthralling set of ties, Tuesday's trip to Slovenia will garner greater media attention due to the doubts around Rooney's starting credentials.

Interim manager Gareth Southgate has shown support for Rooney since succeeding the disgraced Sam Allardyce at the end of last month, but insists that he has the bravery to make such calls - as shown when he made close colleagues at Middlesbrough redundant during his tenure between 2006 and 2009.

"Making some really close friends redundant," he said of his most ballsy move in management. "That's probably as big as you can get."

Copyright © 2016 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

view The Score - EPL Soccer