Wayne Rooney believes that England manager Gareth Southgate handled the recent Harry Maguire scandal, naming the defender in his squad only to be forced to withdraw him hours later.
The Manchester United captain was recently convicted of multiple charges in a Greek court after it was alleged he assaulted and then tried to bribe local police offices.
Southgate said that believed Maguire's version of events and had confidence in his player, but withdrew him from his squad after the court's decision was announced.
It certainly seemed like a misjudgement from the England boss, an opinion that is shared by Wayne Rooney.
Writing in his column for The Times, Rooney said that while he still has faith in Maguire's innocence, he thinks that England handled the situation poorly.
I thought there was no way Gareth Southgate could name Harry in the squad he announced on Tuesday, but he did.
It would have been more sensible to say: “Harry has just played a very long season and needs more rest and let’s wait to see what happens with his court case.” By jumping too quickly and putting him in the squad, it was almost inevitable he’d have to get pulled out.
Now it looks a mess. They’ve picked him, pulled him out, and now do they put him back in the squad? Because as things stand he is a free man and innocent!
I actually feel for Gareth a bit because he was trying to show loyalty to Harry — but I’m sure if he faced the same decision again, he would make a different one.
Maguire maintains his innocence despite the convictions and has lodged an appeal to the Greek courts.
Rooney said that he has plenty of sympathy for the 27-year old due to the spotlight that is placed on him due to his status as a Premier League footballer, a scenario the former England captain is all too familiar with.
He said that it can be difficult for players to strike a balance between taking precautions in public and living a somewhat normal life.
I’m 34 and have lived in the spotlight since I was 16, and you never totally get used to it. I still struggle with it sometimes...
I only used security once — after Euro 2004, when I was 18 and about to move to Manchester United and the attention was wild. But it’s not something I want — to have my wife and kids surrounded by security men.
I know some will have zero sympathy because of what footballers earn but it’s not as simple as saying: “He gets paid the money, he should do this, he shouldn’t do that.”
You grow up putting all your focus into trying to become a footballer. You don’t grow up practising to be in the public eye or to be a celebrity.
With that stuff, you learn on your feet and I’m sure the next holiday he goes on, Harry will be more cautious.