Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Wayne Rooney should be loved by England fans the way Francesco Totti is in Italy.
Everton forward Rooney is England’s all-time top goalscorer with 53 goals in 119 appearances and captained his country on 23 occasions.
However, the former Manchester United man has often received criticism for his performances along with the rest of the England team against big teams as well as at major tournaments.
Rooney only scored seven goals for England at major tournaments but Goran-Eriksson, who managed England between 2001 and 2006, believes he should be adored like Italy and Roma legend Totti.
“The treatment of Wayne Rooney told me something about the way England fans view the national team,” the Swede told the Daily Mail.
“He’s the record goalscorer for both Manchester United and England: you can’t argue with that.
“If Rooney had been Italian, he would have been loved like Francesco Totti was at Roma. You don’t criticise Totti in Italy. There might have been reasons to, sometimes, but you don’t touch him.
“It isn’t like that with Wayne and England but I can tell you that he had to be dragged away from training because he loved to play and practice so much.
“Was [Rooney] appreciated as he might have been as an England player? Maybe not.
“You look at the way some of the big English players in the past, like Rooney and David Beckham, have been criticised and you have to ask: ‘What do you want these players to be?'”
Rooney, 31, retired from international football in September 2017 in order to focus on prolonging his club career with boyhood team Everton.
Rooney’s return to Everton
After kicking off his return to Everton in dream style with two goals in two Premier League games, including one against Manchester City, both Rooney and the Toffees have faltered.Since Rooney’s opener in the 1-1 draw with City in the second game of the season, Everton have scored just twice in the Premier League, a 2-1 win against Bournemouth – their only win in their past five league games.
Rooney has also struggled to win the ball, winning just 39% of all duels in the Premier League including 14 unsuccessful tackle attempts.