ENGLAND defender Leighton Baines has reassured captain Wayne Rooney that he will be remembered as a national team great regardless of his failure to help land major honours.
Rooney reflected this week, as he prepares to win his 100th cap against Slovenia tomorrow, that he would not be held in such high esteem as Sir Bobby Charlton even if he scores the seven goals he needs to surpass the World Cup winner’s record tally of 49.
But Baines believes Rooney’s accomplishments and status as England’s spearhead for a decade have already assured his immortality, even if he is not appreciated fully at present.
“He’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats for England. If Wayne can keep fit, keep playing, he’s going to break more records,” said Everton full-back Baines.
“Sometimes it’s not until later on that people get the credit they deserve. Wayne has been at the forefront of everything England have done since his involvement in the squads and has carried a lot of pressure. Everyone will look back when he’s finished and has broken all the records and will acknowledge he has been one of the all-time greats for England.”
England welcome Slovenia to Wembley for the last Euro 2016 qualifier of the year having taken maximum points from their opening three group fixtures against Switzerland, San Marino and Estonia.
Tottenham winger Andros Townsend yesterday pulled out of the squad with a minor injury and will also miss Tuesday’s friendly against Scotland at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Townsend’s withdrawal followed that of Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick earlier on Wednesday after he suffered a groin injury in training. Carrick had just returned from a lengthy spell out due to ankle ligament damage.