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Socceroo Mark Milligan Backs Teammate After Social Media Backlash

Socceroos defender Mark Milligan wants Australian fans to go easy on teammate Robbie Kruse.

What you need to know
  • Socceroo Mark Milligan has urged Aussie fans to lay off Robbie Kruse
  • Fans have got stuck into Kruse, who has copped blame for underperforming at the World Cup
  • Milligan's call comes as Australia prepares for a must win encounter with Peru this week

Socceroos defender Mark Milligan has opened up about the impact of social media barbs aimed at teammate Robbie Kruse, calling on Australian fans to take it easy on the under-pressure veteran.

Kruse copped a barrage of abuse online after Australia's 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday, reportedly forcing the 29-year-old winger's family to shut down their social media accounts.

The criticism was sparked after Kruse performed below his best in the fixture against the Danes and was replaced by exciting 19-year-old prospect Daniel Arzani late in the game.

Speaking from the Australians' base in Kazan, centre back Milligan said it was important for fans to keep some perspective about the World Cup.

"At the end of the day ... it is just a game," he told reporters.

"We're doing our very, very best to entertain and to represent our families and our countries and as I say, it's an unfortunate situation. We tend to stay away from it. We have to have thick skin."

He said he was confident Kruse would not be stung by criticism from online trolls.

“I think it's much more important what we think of each other than what everybody else thinks of us,” Milligan said.

“When we're out on the field we're the only ones who can help us. We all have a great belief in each other.

“Robbie's been absolutely fantastic for a long time for us and I'm not the only one that thinks so."

Australia has only one point in Group C and must win against Peru in Sochi on Tuesday local time to have any hope of progressing to the knockout round. The Socceroos must also rely on France beating Denmark.