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Robin van Persie backs Wayne Rooney

Robin van Persie has leapt to the defence of his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney, telling German football magazine kicker that the striker was a major factor in moving to Old Trafford.

Van Persie, 30, has scored three goals in his first two games in Brazil, while Rooney netted his first-ever World Cup goal in England's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay. But Rooney has come in for much criticism for his performances with the Three Lions, who have already been eliminated with one group match still to be played.

"The elimination is not his fault alone," Van Persie told kicker. "He was under special pressure in Brazil. And the way he has been criticised is not that fair.

"He has given it his all for his country, and I think he is a great player. Incidentally, Wayne Rooney was the reason I joined Manchester United.

"I was only able to watch parts of their [England's] match against Italy. But I saw the Uruguay match. To me, the English played pretty well, they had some good moments but they played without luck. Sometimes, it's a thin line between winning and losing."

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