Former England midfielder Frank Lampard has been "upset" by some of the criticism aimed at Raheem Sterling this week.
Sterling did not start England's Euro 2016 qualifying win in Estonia on Sunday after telling manager Roy Hodgson that he felt tired.
Hodgson's decision to make this conversation public has prompted a huge debate, with the player himself having both his fitness and commitment questioned in some quarters.
Lampard feels it is unfair to turn on the 19-year-old, who is still early in his career and still to develop physically.
Lampard, a team-mate of Sterling's at the World Cup last summer, told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think he is actually quite a brave boy to say, 'You know what I am not quite at my best here'.
"I am actually quite upset, not with the manager as such, but that the aftermath has been a lot of people criticising Raheem Sterling - who is probably in the top two or three players in our country and we need him to be at his best - for making quite a brave decision.
"I think we need to get behind him. Whether it is right or wrong, I don't know, but we are all individuals and he made that call."
One accusation thrown at Liverpool forward Sterling, who has become a key player for club and country over the past year, is that he is a well-paid professional, and therefore should be fit.
Lampard does not see how that argument is relevant.
The veteran midfielder said: "I would take the money out of it. That is easily said and I hate it when money gets drawn into things, in terms of 'because he is getting paid (this) he should act like this'. It happens too much.
"The fact is, when that's is your job, when you are doing it regularly, you have to make calls. I think Raheem made a judgement call on that game alone.
"Hopefully he will get 100 caps and be very successful for England."
But Lampard, who was invited to speak to a live audience as part of a BBC report into the price of football, does think the game has an issue in terms of the wages being paid to unproven youngsters.
Sterling may now be established at elite level and worthy of reward, but Lampard feels many others in their teens are not.
The 36-year-old said: "It is one of my pet hates in football at the minute, the wages we are giving out to boys who haven't quite made it, who haven't got to the top level where they are performing and entertaining at the top level.
"I think we are maybe giving very big wages to young players who maybe aren't quite ready for it, and who can't handle it."
Lampard himself is currently on loan at Manchester City from their sister club New York City after being released by Chelsea last summer.
He is due to move to the United States early next year to begin preparations for the 2015 Major League Soccer season, but his form at the Etihad Stadium has led to suggestions his loan could be extended.
Lampard insists there is nothing to report on that front.
He said: "I am contracted here until January. I am enjoying every minute of training at this level and being able to get game time. That is as far as it goes at the moment.
"Speculation has come because of a couple of goals, but at the moment there is nothing to be said."