Rooney goes into these Euro 2016 qualifiers knowing he is only eight goals away from the all-time England goalscorer’s record.
England will go into this batch of qualifying matches in good spirits, knowing that two fairly easy games against San Marino and Estonia will give Roy Hodgson the chance to rotate the side and try out some new players. Despite all the fresh faces coming into the England set-up, most recently the likes of Callum Chambers and Fabian Delph, one thing will remain the same. Wayne Rooney will lead the line.
The Three Lions first play San Marino on Thursday evening, before heading to Estonia on Sunday. England’s previous two encounters with San Marino ended 5-0 and 8-0, while their previous two games against Estonia were both 3-0 victories.
With San Marino and Estonia unlikely to prove the most competitive of opponents that England will face during the qualifiers, Rooney will have the chance to cast an eye to a more personal achievement – England’s all-time top goalscorer record.
How can he do it? Well, the obvious answer here is to score, but as eager as he may be to break this record, it must not be his only focus going into these two games. However, am certain this will not be the case. Rooney has always been a player that gives everything when he is on the pitch and I’m sure these two games will be no different, despite the opposition being somewhat weaker.
Due to the fact that San Marino are known as an ‘easy game’ for the majority of teams, Hodgson may opt to play some of the younger players – not out of disrespect for San Marino, but because it is a relatively meaningless game considering the gulf in quality between the two teams, yet it still competitive International football.
The new faces will mean the team has to gel quickly, and as we have seen in the past, this does not always necessarily go to plan for England. Especially when competing against a team that are renowned for conceding mass amounts of goals, some focus more on trying to get their own name on the scoresheet, rather than working for the team. However, England still have a great chance to get some points on the board and significantly increase their goal tally.
Rooney has the backing of his team-mates, who are encouraging the Manchester United forward to go out and get the goals that he needs. James Milner stated, “It’s a good opportunity for him to get the goals now.”
Rooney currently sits fourth in the all- time goalscoring chart, with 41 goals. Three goals behind Jimmy Greaves, seven behind Gary Lineker and, of course, eight off of Bobby Charlton’s record.
We can only wait and see how the games pan out, but I’m sure Wayne Rooney will be somewhat closer to the record by the end of the week.