David Beckham and Harper
David Beckham says people should not criticise his parenting skills after his daughter Harper, four, was pictured sucking at dummyReuters/Eric Thayer

Former footballer David Beckham clearly did not take kindly to criticism of his parenting skills. After his four-year-old daughter Harper was pictured using a dummy, Beckham has responded to the backlash in an angry rant on Instagram.

Earlier in August, photos emerged of the 40-year-old enjoying a day out in West Hollywood with Harper. The youngster was pictured sucking on a dummy and the Mail Online subsequently published an article suggesting that the pacifier could affect Harper's "speech or dental issues" in the future.

Hitting out at the claims, Beckham shared a screengrab of the article on his Instagram page along with the message: "Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts ?? [sic]

"Everybody who has children knows that when they aren't feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it's a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people's children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent."

The father-of-four was flooded with support from his Instagram followers, including one who commented: "Daily Fail and its usual drivel! My boy had a dummy until he was 5, my daughter has one and she's three. The dentist's son had his until he was 6! It's sweets and sugars that erode teeth – this is just scraping the barrel for an article. Ignore them, they go through so many phases and viruses growing up they need comfort #letthembelittle."

Another supporter wrote: "Well said ! Small minded people making unnecessary comments. If people really want to criticise this (a four year old with a dummy – shock horror) over other disgusting events that are happening in this world currently, then more fool them !"

Sharing their experience, one other follower chimed in: "I had my dummy until the age of seven, and I have never suffered from any form of speech or dental issues! These people have nothing better to do than criticise others unfortunately."

Harper's mother Victoria Beckham, 41, is yet to respond to the controversy.