Kevin de Bruyne admits he cannot “understand” why Raheem Sterling faces such intense criticism from his own country.
Manchester City teammates De Bruyne and Sterling will face one another as Belgium take on England in Saturday’s World Cup third-place play-off.
While De Bruyne has earned plaudits for his performances, Sterling has been under scrutiny for his failure to find the net.
He is yet to score at this World Cup, and has just two goals in 43 England caps.
Despite this, De Bruyne has offered support to his club teammate.
“Raheem has done really well in the games I saw,” he told The Times. “He hasn’t scored goals, but not everything in football is about goals.
“Raheem is a wonderful player. He’s an easy-going guy who gives everything for everyone, even with the criticism.
“Personally, I don’t understand why you would criticise people from your own country when all they are trying to do is win it.”