Harry Kane has backed Wayne Rooney to set a record that will never be broken after the England striker passed Bobby Charlton’s historic mark with his 50th international goal. Rooney took over from Charlton as England’s all-time leading goal-scorer when he slammed an 84th minute penalty high into the net to seal his country’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in a Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday.
After wiping away tears of joy, the Manchester United striker gave a rousing dressing room speech in which he paid warm tributes to his team-mates and family, then challenged Kane, who came off the bench to score England’s opener against the Swiss, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, to chase down his record tally.
But Tottenham forward Kane, 22, is confident Rooney, who plans to play for England past the 2018 World Cup, can establish a virtually uncatchable total before he finally retires. “It was a special day for Wayne to get his 50th goal and it’s special for me being on the same pitch as him,” Kane said.
“I grew up watching him as a kid scoring goals for his country and I dreamed of one day playing with him. “To share this moment with him was special. He’s a great player and a great role model. It’s great to play with Wayne.
“We’ll see what he ends up on. He’s going to score quite a few more goals for England, so we’ll see if anyone can catch him.”
As captain and one of the few vastly experienced players in an England squad full of talented but raw youngsters, Rooney has assumed the role of the wise older brother to the likes of Kane and United duo Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw.
They all look up to the 29-year-old for his skills and his achievements, but that didn’t stop them pressuring him into giving that emotional post-match speech. “Before Roy gave him his shirt with 50 on it, we were all shouting ‘Rooney, Rooney’. We all egged him to do the speech,” Smalling said.
“I didn’t think he was going to do it but he got through it. He didn’t cry or anything but you could tell he was emotional.”
Bundle of nerves
Like Kane, England defender Smalling is sure Rooney, who has made a spluttering start to the season with United, will benefit from having put all the talk of the record to bed. “It’s done so he can relax,” Smalling said. “Hopefully he will get even more goals and I think he’ll set a record that’s even higher.
“Coming off a good performance and breaking a record I think we’ll see Wayne Rooney flying.” Rooney conceded it was a relief to get the record out of the way and admitted he was a bundle of nerves before taking the penalty.
Fortunately he was able to cope with the magnitude of the moment and never considered copying Gary Lineker, the former England striker who famously finished on 48 goals after wasting a chance to tie Charlton’s record in 1992 when his weak chipped penalty against Brazil was saved.
“That was never going to happen. I’ve never done that. If I was going to miss it the keeper was going to have to make a good save,” Rooney. “I was very nervous. I just tried to compose myself. I knew which corner I was going because I’d practised that the day before the game. I just thought put my foot through the ball.
“I’m not really an emotional person, but I was probably a bit overwhelmed. It was just a special moment.” Rooney was deluged with messages of congratulations, but the one that meant the most came from United legend Charlton.
“I’ve had loads. I had one from Sir Bobby saying congratulations which was great of him Obviously that means a lot,” Rooney said.
Kane tells Rooney to set unbreakable record
Reviewed by James chibueze