Wayne Rooney heads into Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Croatia with his integrity under the spotlight after Slovenian players accused him of conning referee Jonas Eriksson during England's 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Rooney, who last week insisted he was an "honest player", fell to the ground after he and defender Bostjan Cesar tugged each other's shirts. Eriksson awarded a penalty which Frank Lampard converted to put England 1-0 up. Rooney later told team-mates his shirt had been held, but the Slovenes accused him of deceiving the officials.
Midfielder Nejc Pecnik said: "Rooney went down far too easily and because he is a big name, it made it easier for the referee to make a decision. Lots of people dive in football, that's sport. When Rooney went down he kicked Cesar on the ankle and he's twisted his ankle. We were very unlucky – our player was injured and somehow England got a penalty."
Steven Gerrard defended Rooney, saying the 23-year-old had been impeded. Gerrard said: "I asked him straightaway if there was any contact, and he said he got dragged back. I didn't get a good angle of it because I played the pass, but Wayne said there was contact."
Last week, in the wake of the two-game ban handed by Uefa to Arsenal's Croatian striker Eduardo for diving, Rooney insisted his conscience was clear. He said: "Everyone who watches me play knows I am an honest player. I play the game as honestly as I can. If the referee gives a penalty there is nothing you can do. It is a penalty."
Croatia coach Slaven Bilic expressed his fury at the treatment of Eduardo, who is preparing for a chorus of boos at Wembley. Bilic said: "We are talking about a player who is a role model of a sportsman. I cannot understand how he can be punished."Reuse content