England captain John Terry has sprung to the defence of volatile striker Wayne Rooney following his sending-off against Montenegro.
Terry is adamant the Three Lions would not be where they are without Rooney's contribution after qualification for Euro 2012 was secured by the 2-2 draw in Podgorica.
The Manchester United frontman will miss the start of the finals in Poland and Ukraine, though, after his red card for a challenge on Miodrag Dzudovic with 17 minutes remaining.
It was his second dismissal in an England shirt following his sending-off against Portugal during the 2006 World Cup.
When asked about Rooney's sending off, Terry said: "Listen, it was one of those things. We probably wouldn't be in the position we are without Wayne anyway.
"Unfortunately he misses one or two games when we get there, but without Wayne we wouldn't be where we are.
"Hopefully no-one jumps on him. He has been in great form and thankfully we got the right result.
"Were Montenegro trying to wind him up? There were little bits throughout the park but I don't think that had anything to do with it. It was a bit of a collision."
While England's qualification was overshadowed by Rooney's dismissal, Terry was keen to point out the positives, highlighting the current crop of young players that can challenge for places in the starting line-up next summer.
Manchester United's Phil Jones made his debut on Friday evening, and Terry has echoed manager Fabio Capello by heaping praise on the teenager.
He said: "I can see some of the lads pushing for places at the finals.
"It gives everyone encouragement, not only the ones in this squad of Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck but the ones just below them, the likes of Daniel Sturridge and people like that.
"They believe they can make a real push for this European Championship squad as well.
"It is not only the ones in there now, it is the generation behind them who can make an impact."
Terry added: "I thought Phil Jones did really well. He looks established and as if he has been there in the side for many years.
"He has looked like that playing for Manchester United so I wasn't really surprised. But to come onto this stage, and on a difficult pitch as well, and in difficult surroundings, I felt he dealt with it extremely well."
If Wayne Rooney's Euro 2012 ban is extended should Fabio Capello still take him to the finals?