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Rooney eyes England goal-scoring record

England’s Wayne Rooney (left) during an England training session at St George’s Park yesterday. The Manchester United striker is just one goal away from equalling Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record Picture: PA
Simon Peach

Wayne Rooney is hoping to put a frustrating start to the season behind him by finally usurping Bobby Charlton as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Today’s trip to the microstate of San Marino will be the 29-year-old’s 106th international appearance and could see him enter the record books.

Without a competitive win in their history, the Euro 2016 qualifier against the side ranked 193rd in the world offers Rooney a wonderful opportunity to not only equal Charlton’s 49-goal haul but surpass it.

In recent months the Three Lions skipper, who currently has 48 goals to his name, has remained rather laissez-faire about becoming the country’s top scorer ever, although he is looking forward to the focus turning to other matters.

“Obviously I am aware of it and it is important for me that I do it,” Rooney said.

“I always feel, certainly over the last few England games, that I am going to do it – whether it is tomorrow night, Tuesday night or after that.

“I am sure I will break the record and it will be nice if I can do it tomorrow, so I can put it to the back of my mind and start focusing even more on the upcoming games.

“It is obviously a great achievement if I do it. It would be a really proud moment, but I think when it happens, it happens.

“I will be delighted when it does, but it is not something that I go into games thinking ‘I’ve got to score one or two goals to get the record’.

“I am trying to do my job for the team and I am sure if I do it the way I know I can do it, it will happen.”

Rooney maintains a similar mentality when it comes to his own form.

The forward has struggled to find the back of the net so far this term, with the Champions League hat-trick against Club Brugge all he has been able to muster so far.

“Obviously I have not got the goals that I wanted in the Premier League but that’s part of football,” Rooney said.

“Being a striker, you go through times when you don’t score in all of the games, so hopefully I can start scoring for United after the international break.

“But I am looking forward to these two games now with England.”

Rooney is not the only player struggling for goals as Spurs forward Harry Kane has yet to replicate last season’s exceptional form.

The Manchester United man plans to chat with his team-mate before Tuesday’s qualifier against Switzerland, offering advice he too will heed.

“Just stay calm and keep doing the things you’re doing, the right things on the pitch, and the goals will come,” Rooney said.

“I remember when I was a bit younger, when you go through a period like this you get frustrated and you’re trying to do the difficult things.

“I think at times you’ve got to keep it simple and wait for your chances.

“Once you get one, then I am sure he will get a bagful of goals.”

Rooney may not have spoken to Kane just yet, but he has chatted with John Stones about a topsy-turvy few weeks.

The wantaway Everton defender did not get the move he has yearned for, but on today the focus returns to the game itself after Roy Hodgson confirmed the defender will start against San Marino.

“He is a fantastic player,” Rooney said. “He is a great defender but he is also great on the ball.

“When you can get that mix into one defender, it is great to have.”

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