England handed easy group for Euro qualifying
England manager Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney to break the longstanding national team goal-scoring record held by Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
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Rooney, 28, has already hit 38 goals for England and Hodgson is confident that he can surpass 1966 World Cup-winner Charlton’s record of 49 goals for his country.
“I’m sure we will talk about it,” Hodgson told reporters attending the Euro 2016 draw in Nice. “We’ll be together for a longer period of time [at the World Cup], and that kind of thing might crop up in an everyday conversation -- and it’s quite good to have that.
“He’s a long way behind Alan Shearer in the Premier League [record scorers list], but in terms of international goals he’s definitely up there and we would want that.”
Hodgson welcomed the lucrative new United deal that Rooney penned last week, which will also give him the chance to break Charlton’s all-time scoring record with the reigning Premier League champions.
“I’m very pleased for him, for United and for us,” he said. “I contacted him when he signed a new contract to congratulate him.
“I don’t want to go too much down the route that now he won’t be distracted, because I’ve got every faith that he would have come to the World Cup with England and been focused whatever the situation, but I can’t deny that it’s tremendous that, so early in the season, he’s signed a new contract and committed his long-term future.
“He’s probably going to be a two-club man and most of that will be at Manchester United. It is an advantage, no doubt, and I’m pleased for everyone concerned.”
Hodgson has said for some time that Rooney, who is expected to take over the United captaincy next season, could take the England armband when Steven Gerrard retires from international duty and he again backed the forward for the role.
“Wayne is a future captain of England because we are losing some of the famous players of the past who have served England so well,” he said. “When the day comes for Steven Gerrard to hang up his boots, Wayne will be straight in there, I’m sure.
“He’s a massive football man. He lives for football. Football is his life. There are plenty of other players we have at the moment who are 33, 34 and are still going strong, still doing good jobs for their club and country, so why not Wayne?”