Wayne Rooney
A Preston source revealed that Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has apologised to their goalkeeper following the controversial penalty during their 3-1 win on Monday night. (Getty)

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has reportedly apologised to Preston North End goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann over the controversial penalty during their 3-1 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The Red Devils skipper went down without any contact from the goalkeeper and has been criticised by former players for diving. Former Liverpool player Stan Collymore believes that Rooney should not be committing such acts owing to his position as captain of England and United.

The report claims that Rooney was seen talking to the goalkeeper following the game and a source from the League One club confirmed that the Three Lions star did apologise for going down, but did so to avoid contact with the onrushing goalkeeper.

"At the end of the game, Rooney went over to Thorsten and said, 'Sorry, but I saw you coming and I had to get out of the way'," a Preston source said, as quoted by the Mirror.

However, despite being criticised from some quarters, the striker has received support from others, mainly so from England manager Roy Hodgson and Preston manager Simon Grayson.

The latter defended the striker and denied that it was a dive, but maintained that there was no contact from his goalkeeper as well.

Hodgson also came to the defence of his skipper following the incident and stated that Rooney was just taking 'evasive action' to avoid colliding with Stuckmann.

"Not for me. I just think he was taking evasive action. If you are a referee in the run of play without replays I don't think any of us would have said it is not a penalty," Hodgson said as quoted by the Telegraph.

"The goalkeeper has gone with both feet. Wayne has touched it past him," the Three Lions manager added.