London [England], Oct. 9 : England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate has offered a public defence of captain Wayne Rooney, who was subjected to booing during side's 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Malta on Saturday.
England showcased a brilliant performance in the first half of the game with Dele Alli and Daniel Sturridge scoring the two goals which proved enough to earn the three points for Southgate's side.
But after the break, England's performance dropped significantly, to the extent that some sections of the crowd at Wembley booed at the final whistle.
Rooney was booed by some home supporters when his name was read out over the PA system before the kick-off and was later on once again criticised by the fans after he overhit a shot.
However, Southgate who was satisfied with Rooney's display and baffled by the crowd's reaction, said, "If you look at the number of games and his goal scoring feats for England .
I don't quite understand that [booing]." "Every debate focuses on him. The onus on him is enormous. The criticism of him is, at times, unfair. But he ploughs on and plays with pride, captaining his country with pride," the Guardian quoted the England manager as saying.
The 46-year-old caretaker manager, however, seemed satisfied with the way his team played in the first half, but admitted that after the break they could have been better.
Meanwhile, defending champions Germany strolled past the Czech Republic 3-0. Romania thrashed 10-man Armenia 5-0 in Yerevan, while Montenegro defeated Kazakhstan by the same scoreline.