Saturday 1 October 2016

Roy Hodgson defends decision to take off Wayne Rooney with Bobby Charlton record in sight

Paul Hirst

Published 05/09/2015 | 20:34

England's Ross Barkley (L) celebrates after scoring a goal with team mates Wayne Rooney (C) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during their Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match against San Marino at the Olympic stadium in Serravalle, San Marino September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
England's Ross Barkley (L) celebrates after scoring a goal with team mates Wayne Rooney (C) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during their Euro 2016 qualifying soccer match against San Marino at the Olympic stadium in Serravalle, San Marino September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Roy Hodgson defended his decision to deprive Wayne Rooney of the chance to break Bobby Charlton's goalscoring record in England's 6-0 win over San Marino.

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Rooney equalled Charlton's 49-goal tally with a 12th minute penalty, but was then taken off just before the hour as the minnows were starting to tire.

If Rooney had stayed on, he would have almost certainly scored his 50th goal, but Hodgson would not alter his plan to take the striker off to keep him fresh for Tuesday's qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley.

"The substitution was planned with a view to Tuesday night," the England manager said.

"It would be nice if Wayne could get the 50th goal against Switzerland on Tuesday night, but one thing is for certain - he'll get it.

"If it's not on Tuesday, it might be October, if it's not October, it might be in November, and if it's not in November, it might be 2016. But he'll get it. It's not as if this was his last and only chance.

"If this was his last game for England and he needed one more goal to break the record, I wouldn't have taken him off."

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