Gary Neville has hit out at the criticism of England attacker Raheem Sterling, calling it "absolutely disgusting".
The Manchester City winger has come under fire by pundits and supporters, even before the World Cup started, when his choice of tattoos were questioned by British tabloids.
Former Manchester United and England defender Neville feels that the criticism is unwarranted and believes that some of the comments he saw on Twitter at half-time during England's 2-0 win over Sweden were completely uncalled for.
Sterling missed a one-on-one chance to score for the Three Lions, but despite being one of England's greatest attacking threats in the game, fans singled him out on social media, which upset Neville.
"The actual treatment at half-time of him across social media was absolutely disgusting, and isn't representative of the performance he put in," Neville told ITV.
"To run in-behind [Andreas] Granqvist all that time, he kept getting in and getting in. OK, we didn't have the cherry on the cake, the goal, where all of a sudden you're a hero, but it was a brilliant performance."
Criticism of Sterling has continued from many pundits, with former Wales international Vinnie Jones the latest to attack the Premier League winner's performances.
“I know there’s been a lot of criticism for Sterling," Jones told talkSPORT.
“He is getting in all the right positions, but sometimes you look at Sterling and you think, if he didn’t have that pace he’d be playing for Exeter or someone."
However, Sterling has also received support from David Beckham, who joined Neville in defending the 23-year-old.
Beckham admitted he didn't see the negative social media comments about Sterling, but agreed with his former United team-mate that the criticism was not justified.
"Haven't seen this but whatever it is it's wrong," Beckham wrote on Instagram.
"We are in the semi final of a World Cup. Every player deserves to be applauded. We as a country are united and behind the team."