ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney is aiming to fire himself into elite territory after being named captain for tonight’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
Rooney needs two more goals to surpass Alan Shearer’s tally of 30 international strikes and break into the top five on England’s all-time scorers’ list.
“People have mentioned I will get into the top five goalscorers if I get a couple more and that would be great,” the Manchester United star said yesterday.
“Obviously, the result is more important but it’s an opportunity for us to try and get a few goals. We have to make sure we don’t take them too lightly and we don’t relax during the game. We have to forget they are ranked 207th, focus on ourselves, try and play the football we’ve been trying to do. To be honest there is a great chance for us to win the game and score goals.”
Rooney got the nod over goalkeeper Joe Hart to take the armband for the first time in a competitive England game – a 90,000 Wembley sell-out, despite the modest opposition – with regular captain Steven Gerrard suspended and sometime skipper Frank Lampard a late injury withdrawal.
“It is a great honour. I’m really proud and excited. It will be a big night for me and my family,” said the 26-year-old, whose only experience of leading in England came in a 2009 friendly defeat to Brazil in Qatar.
“It is a big challenge for myself. I don’t know what sort of captain I am and I already speak with all the players whether it is younger or older. But I will try and get the best out of myself and the other players, and hopefully they can get the best out of me.”
Rooney remains 20 goals shy of Sir Bobby Charlton, England’s all-time top scorer, while Gary Lineker is one behind the 1966 World Cup winner on 48. Jimmy Greaves is third on the list with 44, Michael Owen has 40, while Shearer is one of three men equal fifth, along with Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney, on 30.