Tuesday 20 March 2018

Spot-on Rooney beats Charlton's England record

England 2-0 Switzerland

Wayne Rooney scores the second goal for England from the penalty spot and becomes England's all time leading goalscorer
Wayne Rooney scores the second goal for England from the penalty spot and becomes England's all time leading goalscorer
Wayne Rooney celebrates after becoming England's all time leading goalscorer
England manager Roy Hodgson (left) speaks to Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic
England's Jonjo Shelvey (left) and Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri battle to reach the ball

Sam Wallace

Bobby Charlton's England goalscoring record stood for 45 years - back to a time when the national team were still champions of the world, and the British record transfer fee was the £200,000 that Tottenham Hotspur paid West Ham for Martin Peters.

Records are made to be broken, but the longevity of the one that Wayne Rooney surpassed last night demonstrates the scale of his achievement.

The 50th England goal of Rooney's career has arrived at last and no matter that it came from the penalty spot - as did the goal against San Marino with which he equalled Charlton's mark - or that Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer got a hand to it on its way in.

More than two months before his 30th birthday, Rooney has passed one of the great milestones of English football and that achievement will be his to cherish whatever lies ahead.

Will it be broken within the next 45 years? You might say that if anyone has a chance it is Harry Kane who scored his third England goal in the space of four senior caps and sparked life into a qualifier that was hitherto severely lacking in a theme.

But the night belonged to Rooney, who stepped up to hit his penalty at the eastern end of Wembley with eight minutes left and every one of the 75,751 in the ground about to witness a bit of history.

For a few years now it has been clear that Rooney would, catastrophe aside, not fall short in the way that Gary Lineker and then Michael Owen did in pursuit of Charlton's record.

For that reason alone it might be that the accomplishment of 50 goals has lost its capacity for wonder. But it should not be that way.

Charlton scored his 49th goal in the pre-1970 World Cup friendly against Colombia.

For Roy Hodgson, it means that all involved in English football can move on to talking about something else as his side begin the preparation for Euro 2016.

This victory was the eighth straight qualifying win and it ensures that England will win Group E. It all helps with FIFA ranking points and potential seedings and it means that England remain the only team with a 100pc record in qualification for the tournament.

It was a brief night's work for Fabian Delph, nine seconds of the game all told when he pulled up sharply and ran a hand along the back of his right thigh.

It took England 67 minutes to make the breakthrough. Rooney picked out Luke Shaw, who pulled the ball back across goal for Kane to powerfully sidefoot it home.

Then, with six minutes remaining, Raheem Sterling went down in the area and Rooney's record-breaking half-century moment arrived. It was also the 300th goal of his glittering career.

Independent News Service

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