Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney did what every player in the Premier League does, Jamie Carragher claims Getty

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has defended Wayne Rooney in his apparent dive in Manchester United's FA Cup clash with Preston, claiming club fans who criticise him are hypocrites.

Rooney appeared to go down without making any contact with Thorsten Stuckmann in the second half as United looked to close the game down with the scored at 2-1. Preston were looking on top but Rooney's penalty gave them no chance of getting back in the game and the Red Devils went through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup as a result.

Controversy has since followed the England international with Roy Hodgson defending Rooney's actions as he exploited the situation to make sure the referee gave a penalty.

And Carragher has argued that fans of other clubs criticising the star are no more than hypocrites with players from every team, Chelsea and Liverpool included, making more of situations than need be for the chance at a spot kick.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "The irony is clear. Chelsea fans, for instance, will berate Rooney but turn a blind eye to Diego Costa stamping on someone; Liverpudlians who were aggrieved by Rooney felt Luis Suarez was being unfairly scrutinised when he was involved in his many controversies.

"If your club benefits from a decision, nothing is said. You gleefully celebrate the goal, you accept the penalty or free kick and insist the referee was right.

"If it goes the other way? Fury is unleashed. We all live with blinkers on. Put it another way: our children are never at fault, are they?"

He continued: "To be clear, I hate diving. Along with players feigning injury, it is my biggest irritation. I'd like to see action taken against players who are guilty of it. In training at Liverpool, I'd say something if someone was always on the floor as it could cause trouble in the squad and create an atmosphere.

"But the situation was different with Wayne as Thorsten Stuckmann invited trouble. Was it a dive? Yes. But was it a penalty? Again, yes. If someone is about to crash into you what do you do? Jump out of the way or take the full extent of the hit and potentially suffer serious injury?

"Either way, it is a penalty."

Rooney's apparent dive has brought to light an ongoing debate over whether players should exaggerate a foul knowing that if they don't, it might not be called a penalty when the rules inside the box have clearly been broken.

While United took a 3-1 win over Preston, many have since claimed that the side performed far below their best against the League One side.