Wayne Rooney believes he will replace Bobby Charlton as England’s record scorer before too long but knows that unless the national team win another trophy he will remain in the shadow of the 1966 world champions.
Appointed England captain at the start of this season, Rooney is expected to win his 100th cap in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday.
He will receive a special presentation on the pitch from World Cup winner Charlton, who scored 49 international goals in 106 appearances and tops England’s list ahead of Gary Lineker (48) and Jimmy Greaves (44).
Rooney, who has 43 international goals, says in an interview in Saturday’s match programme that winning a tournament, which England have only ever done in 1966 when they beat West Germany in the World Cup final at Wembley, is what matters most, reports Reuters.
“I could sit here saying I’ve got 200 caps and 100 goals for my country, but the ultimate is to win a trophy and that’s what we all want to do,” he says.
“That’s why we play football, to win. That’s the target and hopefully sometime soon we can achieve that.
“To be England’s greatest ever goals scorer would be massive. The record has stood for so many years; there have been plenty of players who haven’t been able to break it.
“I’m still relatively young and believe I can do it, but without taking anything for granted I want to keep trying to do my best for the team.
“Obviously I’m not going to be as big a legend as Sir Bobby Charlton – he’s won the World Cup with England, so to eclipse that I’d have to win the World Cup.
“To get 100 caps for England, there’s not many players who have done it – would be a great achievement.” he says.
The Manchester United striker named Steven Gerrard as the greatest influence on him, revealing that he studied the Liverpool midfielder closely off the field when hoping to become his successor as England captain.
“It’s well-known that the two of us have been close and he’s been a massive help to me,” Rooney adds.
“I believed that after he was captain I’d get the nod to take over from him, so I watched how he prepared himself, how he prepared for games, how he was around the hotel and in the media. I took a lot from him.”
The full interview with Rooney will be published on the FA website (www.TheFA.com).