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 newspaper 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.
Now Rooney had his say on the matter. “It was a bit of misunderstanding after the last game, when Sam came out and said I play where I want,” said Rooney. “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.
“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 on Saturday, and Slovenia, in the current international break and Scotland and Spain next month.
Aand 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.”