Belfast Telegraph

Wayne Rooney dreaming of trophies ahead of 100th cap

By Simon Peach

Wayne Rooney’s pride at notching up a century of caps is clear but so too is the England captain’s desire to end what is set to be a record-breaking international career with a trophy.

Rooney has come a long way from the fresh-faced teenager that made his debut against Australia in 2003, and today, just less than 12 years later, the Three Lions captain prepares to become the ninth player to rack up 100 caps for England.

“There have been some good moments and some bad moments,” he said on the eve of the Euro 2016 qualifier with Slovenia.

“It is something I have really enjoyed doing. It has always been a great honour to play for England and something I want to carry on doing for a lot more years.

“I think the ultimate goal, which I’ve always said, is to win trophies and it something which we are working towards doing.

“To get 100 caps and join the players who reached that is a great honour for me and something I am proud of.”

Wembley will be a nigh-on sell-out when Rooney leads England out alongside his children, Kai and Klay. Sir Bobby Charlton, rather aptly, will hand the forward his 100th cap, although the 29-year-old feels almost embarrassed to be in the same bracket as the Manchester United and England great. Rooney sees Charlton, like fellow centurion Bobby Moore, in a different stratosphere given their World Cup success — something he still dreams of replicating, looking ahead to Russia 2018.

“Those two players are World Cup winners,” he said. “It is not everyday someone can go around and say that. That’s what I would like to join, be a World Cup winner. That would be amazing, of course, if we could do that.

“To play for my country so many times is a great achievement and I truly am honoured to be able to do that.”

Rooney says there is still “plenty more to achieve” with England and, while trophies may not follow, a place in the record books looks assured.

Peter Shilton’s record haul of 125 caps looks well within the 29-year-old’s reach, as does Charlton’s all-time scoring record of 49.

“They are two records that have stood for a lot of years,” Rooney, already on 43 goals, said.

“To get within touching distance... it is something I hope I can do, but it is not something really in mind at the moment.”

Meanwhile, England manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Leighton Baines was ruled out of the squad to face Slovenia and Scotland after picking up a hamstring injury in training.

Baines became the third player to withdraw from the England squad after Michael Carrick and Andros Townsend pulled out after suffering groin and ankle problems respectively.

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