Robin van Persie has insisted Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney is not to blame for England’s early exit from the World Cup.
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Rooney scored his first ever World Cup goal in the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday but the forward has been heavily criticised for his performances.
“Wayne is not to blame, he gave his all for his country. It’s not fair to criticise him so much,” said Van Persie.
“He was under a lot of pressure and that is his life since he made his debut. I think he played well. You can’t blame him for scoring one goal, working his socks off and missing three chances by inches.
“As I’ve said many times, Wayne was partly the reason I came to Manchester United. I never regretted saying that because by training and playing with him he’s shown me that he’s a world class player. He’s a great player and a great goalscorer.”
Van Persie has played in the Premier League for 10 years after joining Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004 – and he believes the Football Association must invest in youth coaching and facilities to produce a better national team.
“It’s very important to invest in youth, in good trainers and the facilities for youngsters to play outside,” he added.
“The more hours you spend playing football, combined with good trainers, that is what makes you a better player.
“What is important is to invest in the youth and try to develop them.”