Wayne Rooney under too much pressure for England - Van der Sar

Wayne Rooney and Edwin Van der Sar
Wayne Rooney and Edwin Van der Sar

England are wrong to place so much pressure on striker Wayne Rooney, says his former team-mate at Manchester United Edwin van der Sar.

Rooney has scored 35 goals for England in 82 caps, but has netted just once at a major tournament since Euro 2004.

And the former United goalkeeper claims expectation on Rooney is excessive.

"There has been so much pressure on him and that is where England goes wrong," the former Netherlands international told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek.

"You build someone up and really put all your money on him as the guy who is going to make England the world or European champions.

"And if he doesn't succeed it's quite easy to cut him down again."

The Dutchman acknowledged that Rooney has not been on top form recently and had been overshadowed by his countryman Robin van Persie.

"Of course, players can have indifferent seasons," he said.

"Maybe for him it has been a lesser season, especially the last couple of games he didn't play, but he is still a really important player for United.

"Wayne has maybe been overtaken a little bit by Robin van Persie at United this year. But he puts the hard work in for the team. You don't always have to score to contribute.

"Now in England you only have one striker and that's him, although some players for lesser clubs have been scoring so they deserve a chance also."

Rooney has been linked with other clubs after saying he wants leave Old Trafford.

But United have played down speculation over a move to Paris St-Germain, and Van der Sar, who retired in 2011, believes Rooney will remain in the Premier League.

"English players tend to stay in England to play their football," he added.

"And rightly so because there are big clubs with traditions, the stadiums are always full and the money is right.

"So you don't have to move and I think the change of manager, and the backroom staff also, it could be a big change for Manchester United for the next few seasons."

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