Wayne Rooney became England’s all-time record goalscorer as England maintained their 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifying with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday.
After Roy Hodgson’s men booked their place at next year’s competition with victory over San Marino on Saturday, all eyes were on whether Rooney would break Bobby Charlton’s record for England.
The England captain moved level with Charlton on 49 goals at the weekend and, while it proved a frustrating evening for the skipper and his side at times, Rooney tucked home his historic goal from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.
After losing Fabian Delph to a hamstring problem after just nine seconds, substitute Harry Kane set England on their way to victory within 10 minutes of his introduction.
Rooney’s long-awaited moment came soon after, as he completed his historic feat after Raheem Sterling was felled inside the area – the England striker moving clear of Charlton with his 50th international goal.
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Switzerland, having looked resolute while relatively dangerous on the break, remain in pole position to join England in France from Group E, although Slovenia’s win over Estonia makes life slightly trickier for Vladimir Petkovic’s side. Delph was one of four England changes, but the Manchester City midfielder was forced to hobble off inside the first minute having appeared to tweak his hamstring.
Delph suffered the same fate on his City debut during the close-season and Hodgson was forced to reshuffle his pack, with Ross Barkley introduced. The enforced change failed to halt England’s momentum, though – Gary Cahill’s header testing Yann Sommer before Rooney set up James Milner for a shot on target, having curled wide from inside the area minutes earlier.
Xherdan Shaqiri offered the bulk of Switzerland’s limited threat before the break before Barkley saw a curled effort blocked early in the second half. Rooney again threated with a header, following positive running down the right from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before testing Sommer from distance. However, England failed to get the breakthrough their attacking intent warranted, while the visitors looked threatening on the counter, going close to an opener with Granit Xhaka’s header from a corner.
Kane was introduced prior to the hour mark, Rooney dropping behind the Tottenham forward, and it proved an inspired decision as the youngster made it three goals from four senior international outings soon after. Cutting across the ball, his strike evaded a clutch of Swiss defenders to beat Sommer and offer a further reminder that his goalscoring exploits last season are unlikely to be a one-off.
Rooney’s moment was still to come and arrived when Xhaka brought down the lively Sterling. The skipper stepped up amid excitement from the home crowd and, while Sommer got a hand to the ball, Rooney was not to be denied – the skipper breaking new ground in an England shirt on another positive night for the hosts.