England manager Roy Hodgson has defended Wayne Rooney after former boss Fabio Capello made 'cheap' jibes over his performance at Euro 2012.
Capello criticised the striker on Italian radio this week, claiming he does not understand English and only plays well for Manchester United, not his country.
Rooney, who was suspended for the first two games of the tournament, was visibly short of his best in the two matches he did play, including the quarter-final exit to Italy.
Although the frontman did score his first goal at a major tournament since Euro 2004 - a point-blank header against Ukraine in the final group match - he has often struggled to influence matches for England in the way he regularly does at club level.
But Hodgson was unimpressed by Capello's appraisal and has hit back at his predecessor, insisting Rooney's attitude in Poland and Ukraine was faultless.
He told talkSPORT: "Capello is entitled to his opinions, I suppose. I don't know what relationship he would have had with Wayne but I always think it's a bit cheap to kid on a player who was so anxious to do well.
"His attitude [at Euro 2012] was magnificent. He was putting in extra work in training because he was concerned he was behind the others having missed the first two games through suspension.
"He was trying to do extra work and we were trying to put the brakes on. His desire to do well was enormous.
"In the final game [against Italy] he, along with one or two other players, didn't play to the level he can but that's what football is about. If every player was a robot and played at the same level in every game then football would be a very simple game and we wouldn't need coaches."
There was a strong sense of déjà vu as England bowed out of Euro 2012 on penalties in Sunday's quarter-final against Italy.
Despite that familiar exit, Hodgson insists he is proud of what his players achieved in Poland and Ukraine.
He added: "Maybe it [the quarter-final] was a bridge too far. We ran out of legs a bit in the final part and didn't keep the ball as well as we should have done but it was a valiant effort to take the game to penalties.
"There was a brief period in the first half when we showed what we could do but we couldn't keep that up. Getting to penalties was the best we could do.
"I don't think we could have done much more. The players' focus couldn't have been better, and the effort couldn't have been better.
"In the first half that showed. At half-time I didn't see any reason to believe we couldn't win the game. But in the second half and extra-time it was obvious they were in the ascendancy and we were thankful for some magnificent defending to make sure we stayed in the game.
"There was no surrender. It was a great effort and I feel very proud of what the players did for me in the pitch. But there will always be recriminations if you don't get as far as you'd like, and achieve what you want to."