RVP leaps to Rooney's defence
Robin van Persie (AFP)
Cape Town - Robin van Persie has leapt to the defence of Wayne Rooney, insisting the England striker was the reason he joined Manchester United two years ago.
Rooney has come under intense criticism from the English media after a disappointing World Cup, where the Three Lions failed to make it out of the group stages.
The Red Devils star, who is third on the club's all-time scoring charts with 212 goals, finally opened his World Cup account with a strike against Uruguay on Thursday.
However, it was not enough to rescue Roy Hodgson's side as they slumped to their second 2-1 defeat in the tournament, having lost to Italy by the same scoreline in their Group D opener.
Van Persie, though, believes his United team-mate should not shoulder the blame for his nation's failure in Brazil, claiming the 28-year-old striker was under immense pressure to deliver for the national team.
The Netherlands skipper told Kicker: "The elimination is not his fault alone. He was under special pressure in Brazil. And the way he has been criticised is not that fair.
"He has given it his all for his country and he is a great player. Incidentally, Wayne Rooney was the reason I joined Manchester United."
Critics were far from impressed with England's performances on the South American continent, but Van Persie believes there was an element of misfortune involved in their two results.
He said: "I was only able to watch parts of their match against Italy. But I saw the Uruguay match. To me, the English acted pretty well, they had some good moments, but they played without luck. Sometimes, it's a thin line between winning and losing."