Rooney urges England fans to go easy on Terry

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney has pleaded with the Wembley boo-boys to lay off John Terry on Wednesday night.

The midweek friendly with Egypt represents the first time England have been in action since Terry's much-publicised personal problems led to him being sacked as captain by Fabio Capello.

In addition, Wayne Bridge remains so upset about the turmoil Terry has caused to his own life that he has pulled out of the World Cup.

Although Chelsea supporters have remained steadfastly behind their man, to the extent of disgracefully booing the Manchester City full-back at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, the England fans are likely to be less forgiving.

Gary Neville, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are just three of the players who have received less-than-warm welcomes on home soil in recent times. It would be no surprise if Terry's name was added to that list this week.

But Rooney feels such an expression of discontent would be counterproductive.

"I hope the fans don't turn against John Terry," said the Manchester United man.

"I have played in England teams when some of our own players have been booed. It has not been nice, not just for that one player, but for the whole team.

"Leading up to a World Cup you want the fans behind you.

"We need their full support. It is really important.

"I hope he gets a good reception on Wednesday."

Although certain City players wore Team Bridge T-shirts in the immediate aftermath of Terry's alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of Bridge's young son, becoming public - and Craig Bellamy delivered a withering assessment of the Chelsea captain's personal conduct on Saturday - inside the England camp, everything remains calm.

"John Terry is a leader for our team," said Rooney.

"Although he hasn't got the armband he is still a great player and a great leader. It has been no different since we have met up."

That is not to say there is no sense of regret at Bridge's absence and, from a purely professional basis, Rooney wishes he was still around.

"We are weakened by not having him," said Rooney.

"He is a fantastic player, especially with Ashley Cole being injured. He would have been the one to replace him.

"It is unfortunate but it is Wayne's decision and we have to respect it."

Rooney also found himself in the rather unusual position of having to stand up for someone who has never played for England before.

England's number one frontman knows Ryan Shawcross well from their time together at Manchester United.

And he knows Shawcross is not the type of player to deliberately injure someone, as has been suggested in the aftermath of his tackle on Aaron Ramsey on Saturday that left the Arsenal man with a badly broken leg.

"You could see Ryan was upset after the game," said Rooney. "He is not that kind of player.

"It is unfortunate but he has to move on now.

"He is in the squad at a young age and it is important he tries to get a game. If he does I am sure he will do well."

Rooney delivered some good news regarding his own fitness.

Although it appeared he was unlikely to play in England's final friendly before Capello announces his provisional World Cup squad in May, Rooney went for a scan on the knee injury he aggravated during yesterday's Carling Cup final which came back clear.

It means the man who has just been crowned England's player of the year for 2009 should face the African Nations Cup winners, although the prominence given to the prospect Rooney might miss out was an indication of what to expect in South Africa this summer.

"I am prepared for the attention," he said.

"There is nothing you can do about it if you get injured anyway but hopefully I will be OK."

In the same way fans worry about Rooney's fitness, so they wonder whether a player who has now taken his goal tally for the season to 28 can maintain his present form until the middle of July.

His below-par performance against Everton earlier this month was confirmation Rooney can suffer the same human frailties as anyone else.

But he believes the general trend will continue to be upwards.

"I hope I can maintain my form," he said.

"Obviously there are going to be some games which are not too great and Everton was one.

"But I hope in general I can keep my form up and take that into the World Cup.

"If I can do that I will be really pleased."

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