Football: Rooney covets team honours ultimately with England at Euro 2016

Theo Walcott scoring in England's 6-0 victory against San Marino in the Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday. Wayne Rooney said the lack of a Euro title, World Cup and FA Cup are a "gap on my CV".
Theo Walcott scoring in England's 6-0 victory against San Marino in the Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday. Wayne Rooney said the lack of a Euro title, World Cup and FA Cup are a "gap on my CV". PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

England captain proud to equal Charlton's tally, but would swop the 49 goals for Euro, World Cup

SERRAVALLE (San Marino) • Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton's England goal-scoring record but suggested he would exchange those goals to win the 2016 European Championships as the Three Lions became the first team to qualify for the tournament.

The England captain stroked home a 13th-minute penalty to register a 49th goal for his country as Roy Hodgson's team comfortably won 6-0 on a poor playing surface in San Marino.

The 29-year-old will now seek to break the 45-year record by scoring against Switzerland tomorrow, when a draw will ensure Group E is claimed.

"It's a proud moment to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's record, and a huge honour to be sat at the top of the goalscoring charts with him," said Rooney, whose wife Coleen and young son Kai were in the crowd.

"But it's a team game and I'm in it to win trophies as a team. I would swop all the goals I've scored to be successful as a team with England by winning the European Championships or World Cup. It's a gap on my CV, along with the FA Cup."

England added to Rooney's goal before the interval via a Cristian Brolli own goal, and Ross Barkley's first goal for his country. They were followed by late efforts from substitutes Theo Walcott, who scored twice, and Harry Kane, to complete a routine win.

Kane had replaced Rooney after 58 minutes, with Hodgson eager to use the Manchester United striker against the Swiss - who started the qualification campaign ranked higher than England - at Wembley.

"It was planned with one eye on Tuesday," Hodgson said. "Some quite important players, regulars, didn't start the game and we took off some senior people in the team, too. It would be nice if Wayne could get the 50th goal against Switzerland on Tuesday night. But one thing is for certain: He will get it."

The England manager can now start planning for Euro 2016 and is expected to blood more young players in October's two final qualifiers, against Estonia and Lithuania, as he prepares for the tournament in France.

"I don't think qualifying early gives you any particular advantage because we have a lot of time to plan between now and June 2016 anyway," he added. "But the October games will now be an opportunity for experimentation."

In truth, Hodgson fielded an experimental side against San Marino, currently ranked 193rd in the world. Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy were handed their first England starts, while Nathaniel Clyne, Ross Barkley and John Stones also made the first XI.

Shelvey took the opportunity to catch the eye in a midfield holding role, three years after winning his first cap against the same opposition. And Hodgson was full of praise for the Swansea City player's distribution as England stretched San Marino's abysmal run to one point out of a potential 189.

"Shelvey in particular showed a maturity out there," he said.

"We all know what Jonjo can do with the ball, we know the capacity he has for finding passes that other players can't find.

"Today (Saturday) I thought he was extremely measured in his passing. There were some very good long passes, some very good visionary passes, but there were also a lot of sensible passes to keep us in the game."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2015, with the headline 'Rooney covets team honours'. Print Edition | Subscribe