The England coach believes Rooney's axing for defeat to Real Madrid has been overblown.
"You look at someone like Wayne Rooney," Neville told the Telegraph. "[Shinji] Kagawa scored a hat-trick [v Norwich City], he's a £15m signing, he was left out of the team but then no one mentions it? Nemanja Vidic got left out two weeks ago and he's the captain of the club, a fantastic centre-back. Ryan Giggs doesn't play every week.
"With Wayne Rooney it's the English thing. With England it's big. It always has been - the euphoria that surrounds England players. It's the same with Frank Lampard at Chelsea - his contract situation gets so much publicity because he's an England player.
"The reason why we are more interested, why the media are more interested is because he's an England star. It's absolutely the way it has always been.
"Think about Bobby Charlton, Gascoigne - Keegan going into the World Cup in 1982. Think about Beckham when he was left out by Steve McClaren.
"This doesn't change with England, it's an England thing. Sir Alex Ferguson is absolutely right - when you leave an England player out, and one of England's very best players, you know that the headlines are going to be big.
"It always makes me giggle, particularly since I left the club, because I was there for 20 years, and you are protected by it, you are secure, you don't read that much, you don't see that much.
"When you come out of it you see the euphoria and wild scrutiny and exaggeration that exists at times because one player has been left out of one match. I just giggle and think, 'Was it like that when I was playing?' It probably was."