Manchester United winger Lingard blasts England skipper Rooney's critics ahead of Malta clash

Lingard heaps praise on Rooney saying the England captain has been a positive influence on the youngsters in the side.

Wayne Rooney
Rooney's side will face Malta in their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier clash on Saturday Reuters

Jesse Lingard lashed out at Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney's critics backing his captain to hit peak form soon.

Rooney has only scored once for the Red Devils in seven Premier League appearances in the 2016/17 season. He has struggled to find an ideal position on the field and has been facing the wrath of critics. Also, Jose Mourinho dropped his captain to the bench in their last three games.

However, Lingard, who has earned a recall to the senior side, defended his captain asserting that his leadership skills has been very helpful for youngsters in the team.

Notably, the England skipper has got the backing of the senior side's caretaker manager Gareth Southgate and is expected to start in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier clash against Malta on Saturday.

"I think that, really, because of what he has achieved, no one can say anything [bad] about him," Lingard was quoted as saying the Sky Sports.

"I have known Wayne for a long time. He has got a love for the game which has not left him. He has been a top professional on and off the field for us and we look up to him as well.

"I think he is very determined [to win his place back]. Even though he has not been playing for the club, he is still supporting us and he is going to get back into the fold.

"For the club he is a great leader for us - as young lads we can speak to him whenever we want and he always helps the young lads."

Not bothered by the talks centered around his performances, Rooney himself revealed he was not worried at not being able to make it to the starting XI but vowed to fight hard for his place. He also maintained that he would prefer a role in the midfield as he feels he can contribute better from there.

"I understand I have to work hard and try and get back and try and get my chance and take it. If I am on the bench, so be it. I will fight, I will fight to try and get back in," Rooney had said, as quoted by the Mail Online.

"I feel I can control and dictate games from there [midfield]. I am not saying I am better. I am saying I can play there to a very high standard. Time will tell."