Wayne Rooney believes England manager Gareth Southgate made the wrong decision by initially selecting Manchester United defender Harry Maguire in his Nations League squad.
The United captain was arrested and then found guilty of charges including resisting arrest, aggravated assault and bribery after a disturbance on the Greek island of Mykonos, though after being sentenced his legal team lodged an appeal on Wednesday, nullifying the conviction in accordance with Greek law.
After the guilty verdict, Maguire was withdrawn from the Three Lions squad for their upcoming Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.
United have issued their full support for Maguire, who maintained his innocence in his first TV interview since the incident earlier in the week.
Rooney leapt to the defence of Maguire earlier this week and now the former United and England captain has further defended the 27-year-old, whilst claiming Southgate should have shielded him from the media spotlight by leaving him out of the squad at the start.
Writing in his Times column on Sunday, Rooney said: “You could see, in his BBC interview, the emotions he is going through.
“He’ll be grateful for the support United have shown him and United have been an example to England in that respect. They have backed Harry, been loyal, heard his story and believed what he has said whereas with the England situation, I’m surprised.
“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.”