Wayne Rooney: Three points and qualification is my goal

Friday 04 Sep 2015
Wayne Rooney is on the verge of the England goalscoring record

While many people are talking about the England goalscoring record that is within touching distance for Wayne Rooney, the man himself is focused on just one thing – qualifying for Euro 2016.

With 48 goals for his country, the Three Lions skipper is just one behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally that has topped the charts for 45 years.

On Saturday, Roy Hodgson’s Group E leaders take on bottom of the table San Marino knowing a win will secure at least second spot with three games remaining, and with it a place in France next summer.

San Marino v England

UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier
5pm (BST), Saturday 5 September
San Marino Stadium, Serravalle
Live on ITV 1

Rooney is England’s joint-top scorer against the Sammarinese with four goals from three previous meetings, but he’s keen to put personal glory aside for this sake of his team.

"As a striker, you want to score goals, that's quite obvious," said Rooney, on the eve of their first game of the new season.

"Sometimes you want to score but you're not going to in some games. It's not happened in the league this season.

"Hopefully after these games I'll start scoring again. Six or seven years ago I'd have been frustrated. Now I know the chances and goals will come."

He continued: "Everyone knows we are expected to win the game.

"It can be quite frustrating when they get everyone behind the ball, and there's no space. But we have to find those gaps.

"We have to focus and create the chances to score goals. Once we get the first, it'll come.

"I'll be delighted if we win the game. Three points will qualify us for the tournament, and that's the main goal."

The conversation inevitably wanders back to the long-standing goal scoring record and Sir Bobby – who like Rooney represented both England and Manchester United with distinction.

And there’s a feeling history will very soon be made. 

While some may have predicted the former Everton forward would one day eclipse Charlton’s achievement after making his debut aged just 17, Rooney has only had the target in his mind in recent months.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney and his teammates survey the stadium in Serravalle

"In nearly 13 years, you change in terms of how you play. The position I play in the team - in the last three years I've been more as a striker, where I was previously more of a No10," said the 29-year-old.

"It's a slightly different role. There have been changes.

"It's been the last few games, [the record] keeps coming up. It'll be nice to finally do it and put it to the back of my mind."

He added: "It's not something I've thought about until the last year or so and all of a sudden I am in touching distance.

"It's great to have this opportunity."

After England play San Marino, they return home to face Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday night. Tickets are available from £10 for children and £20 for adults in the family section and can be purchased online here.

To arrange your travel plans click here.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor in San Marino