Gary Neville: 'England's obsession with Wayne Rooney is normal'

England coach Gary Neville watches a training session on August 11, 2013
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Gary Neville believes that the "obsession" with Wayne Rooney at international level is normal.

England coach Gary Neville believes that the "obsession" surrounding Wayne Rooney is nothing new for stars who play at an international level.

The Manchester United forward has been under scrutiny since the Three Lions began their World Cup preparations.

Criticism intensified after Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Italy in Manaus, where Rooney set up Daniel Sturridge's goal but failed to take two opportunities to score in the second half.

While the eyes of the nation appear to be on the forward ahead of Thursday's Group D clash against Uruguay, Neville has insisted that we have seen it all before with ex-players, including Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham.

"I've never known there not be an obsession around one player," Neville told BBC Radio 5 live. "It was Gascoigne from 1996 to 1998, Beckham from 2000 to 2006. From 2006, it was Rooney and Beckham. Now it's Rooney to 2014.

"Unfortunately, or fortunately, because he is a big player, this time it's Wayne Rooney."

The 28-year-old is said to have done extra shooting practice after Monday's training session in Rio.

Wayne Rooney of England reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014
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