David Beckham believes Wayne Rooney's recent dip in form is the result of a lack of match fitness and is no cause for alarm.
The former England captain still harbours hopes of linking up with the Manchester United forward on the international stage and has no doubt Rooney will soon be back to his best.
"People talk about Wayne being in a bad patch but people also have to remember that he's missed quite a bit of the season - three or four weeks without playing the game," Beckham said. "He might have trained but it's not the same as match fitness and you need that."
The Real Madrid midfielder also urged calm over England's faltering European Championship qualifying campaign, in which Steve McClaren's men have taken just a point from their last two games.
England could only manage a goalless draw with Macedonia at Old Trafford just over a week ago before crashing to a 2-0 defeat in Croatia last Wednesday.
The 31-year-old admits he is finding it difficult watching England drop points and is itching to help, but is confident they can bounce back. "It's hard to watch England without being in the team," he said. "It's still hard and it will be until I'm back in there.
"But what people have to realise is there's going to be tough games, there's going to be good games, bad games, and it's been two tough games for them - one at Old Trafford where usually our record is good.
"But we've got great players, we've got great talent in that team."
Beckham also rubbished suggestions England's players do not show enough desire to win matches. He said: "The players that I know in that team, the players that I've played with in that team and the players that were in the team, there are no worries about passion with any player putting on that England shirt.
"You want to win, you'll do anything to win. That's the way they played when I was in the team and that's why it was an honour to have some of those players in the same team as me, because the passion they showed and the workrate they showed, and the willingness to actually win games. Without a doubt, that was there."Reuse content