​John Terry has sprung to the defence of under-fire England captain Wayne Rooney.

Rooney has received heavy criticism in recent weeks, and after being dropped to the bench for Manchester United, he will also start as a substitute in England's World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on Tuesday night. 


Interim England manager Gareth Southgate has stated the decision does not reflect on Rooney's form, but that the match requires different tactics in midfield than the encounter with Malta.

Terry, who played 78 matches at international level and lined up numerous times with Rooney, has defended the 30-year-old, declaring him to be 'one of the very best players I have seen' and 'an absolute legend.'

"We should all show more respect to this great player and man. Let's all get behind Wayne and the England team tomorrow," the Chelsea centre-back continued. 

Rooney has fallen behind Dele Alli in England's attacking midfield role, while Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have all displayed better goalscoring form in recent years than the former Everton striker. 

Eric Dier was one of the few positive points in England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign, performing well in the holding position he made his own at Tottenham last season. Jordan Henderson has also started the season well in midfield, being arguably England's most impressive performer during their 2-0 win over Malta. Many believe Rooney is no longer the automatic choice he once was for the Three Lions.