Belfast Telegraph

England v San Marino: Roy Hodgson was right to take me off, says Wayne Rooney

By Paul Hirst

Wayne Rooney holds nothing against Roy Hodgson after the manager deprived him of a chance to break Sir Bobby Charlton's England scoring record in San Marino on Saturday.

Rooney scored a 12th-minute penalty to set the Three Lions on their way to a 6-0 win that secured their qualification for Euro 2016. The spot-kick was a momentous achievement for Rooney as it brought him level with England's all-time record goalscorer Charlton, who is one of the captain's heroes.

Had he not been substituted in the 58th minute, the Manchester United striker would have stood a good chance of scoring a record-breaking 50th goal against the European minnows, who are ranked 193rd in the world.

But Rooney felt the withdrawal made sense with England's next qualifier against Switzerland taking place just 72 hours later.

"No. To be honest I knew that the most I was going to play was an hour," Rooney said when asked if he thought he had been taken off too early.

"There is a game coming up on Tuesday. I was just happy to get the goal and the win."

The fact that his 49th goal was somewhat fortuitous and came against a team containing an accountant, a banking clerk and a ceramics shop worker did not matter to Rooney. Moving level with England's World Cup-winning forward was a source of great pride for the United man.

"It's a proud moment," he said. "To be there sitting at the top with him in terms of goals is a great achievement and something I'm very proud of."

Belfast Telegraph