Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Wayne Rooney's role in England's defeat against Russia this week.

Ferguson defended Rooney after his striker came under fire for conceding the penalty with his tug on Konstantin Zyryanov.

While TV replays showed the incident had happened outside the box, many wondered why Rooney was in the left-back slot anyway and why he felt the need to commit such an obvious offence.

"I thought Wayne was probably England's best player," said Ferguson. "But his eagerness to help the team cost him.

"It was a foul but it was not a penalty. He didn't haul him back or anything. The lad just took advantage of the situation."