England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has urged Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling or even Ross Barkley to surpass his 50-goal record for the Three Lions.
Rooney broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s 45-year-old record on Tuesday when he netted his 50th goal – a late penalty – in the 2-0 European Championship Qualifying win over Switzerland.
It was a momentous night for the 29-year-old England captain, who was clearly filled with emotion during his celebration.
After the match, Roy Hodgson handed his skipper a commemorative shirt with ‘Rooney 50’ on the back in the dressing room.
The players chanted his name repeatedly as he received the shirt and the captain then addressed them all in a short speech.
“I want to thank all of the coaches, the players, and the staff who I have worked with for such a long time,” the Manchester United forward said.
“This is such a huge moment for myself and my family in my career. Hopefully for the team and for myself there will be a lot more to come, we can be successful and hopefully a lot of the younger lads – coming through like Harry (Kane), Ross (Barkley), and Raheem (Sterling) can come close and even pass me in the future.
“I am grateful, it means the world to me and thank you very much.”
It was slightly bizarre to namecheck Barkley, who has scored just ten Premier League goals in his career. And Rooney had 14 England goals when he was Kane’s age.
Shortly after the match, Charlton paid tribute to the man who overhauled his 49-goal tally.
“I would like to congratulate Wayne on becoming England’s leading goalscorer,” the 1966 World Cup winner said.
“I have always been very proud to hold this record. Playing for my country was always an honour and a privilege and something I did with great pride.
“I obviously cannot deny that I am disappointed that I now don’t hold this record, however, I am absolutely delighted that it is Wayne, as captain of my beloved club and country, who now holds this record.
“On behalf of myself and everyone at Manchester United I would like to say ‘Congratulations Wayne this is a very proud moment for you and your family. It is a record that I am sure you will hold for a long time, and it is clear to see that you will go on scoring for your club and country for a long time to come.”‘
Rooney took 12 years and 107 matches to bring up his half century.
Given that he has vowed to play on for England for at least another three years, there will be plenty of opportunities to add to his tally.
Hodgson believes the Manchester United forward could potentially score upwards of 60 goals.
“If he plays to 2018 at least we are talking 20 or 30 games, so 10 to 15 goals with his rate of scoring,” the England boss said.
Harry Kane bagged the other goal in the Euro 2016 qualifying win, which meant England secured top position in Group E with two matches left.