England vice-captain Gary Cahill believes skipper Wayne Rooney will smash every national team record on offer as the Manchester United striker prepares to reach a further milestone against Slovenia on Saturday.
Rooney will win his 100th cap in the Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley and become the ninth century-maker in England’s history, moving ever close to Peter Shilton’s all-time record of 125 appearances for the Three Lions.
The ex-Everton frontman remains the youngest player to start an international for England – 17 years and 160 days old when he faced Turkey in April 2003 – and Cahill insists there is plenty of mileage remaining for Rooney to scale greater heights.
“I don’t want to jinx him but I’m sure he can break all the records,” said Cahill. “He’s a fantastic player and it’s a fantastic achievement [to reach 100 caps]. I’m sure on Saturday he will be very proud and the achievement is amazing.
“He’s a world class player, you’ve seen that over many years. You look at how old he is, to be coming up to 100 caps at such a relatively young age is phenomenal. He can go on for many, many years.
“He’s fit, he looks after himself, he trains really hard. I can’t see why not [breaking Peter Shilton’s appearance record], he’s relatively young.”
Despite scoring his first World Cup goal in three tournaments during England’s disastrous campaign in Brazil this summer, the 29-year-old is the country’s leading hitman in competitive matches with 31 strikes.
Rooney has netted 43 times in total for England and sits fourth on the list of leading goalscorers behind Jimmy Greaves and Gary Lineker, and has every chance of making ground on Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally of 49 in a Euro 2016 qualification group which includes San Marino, Lithuania, Estonia and Switzerland as well as Saturday’s opponents Slovenia.