Belfast Telegraph

Record-breaker Wayne Rooney has Liverpool in his crosshairs ahead of Old Trafford clash

By Paul Hirst

Wayne Rooney is confident of ending his Premier League drought against Liverpool this weekend after becoming England's record goalscorer.

The Manchester United captain surpassed his hero Sir Bobby Charlton in the scoring charts on Tuesday with a late penalty in England's 2-0 win over Switzerland - his 50th international strike. Rooney has now scored nine goals in his last 10 England appearances, but for United he has struggled of late.

The 29-year-old has not scored in his last 10 Premier League games, but he hopes that will change on Saturday when Liverpool come to Old Trafford for Louis van Gaal's biggest game of the year so far.

"To achieve what I have, I would be lying if I said it didn't put a spring in my step and make you want to carry on (scoring)," the United captain said.

"I am very happy and grateful, but I will go back to Manchester and get back into training and start focusing on Liverpool.

"Hopefully getting two goals in the last two games will mean I continue scoring."

Time to arise Sir Wayne Rooney and King Kyle Lafferty

Rooney showed nerves of steel to fire a high shot past Yann Sommer in the 84th minute after Raheem Sterling had been fouled in the box.

Having committed to play at least another three years for his country, Rooney will have many opportunities to go well beyond his current tally.

The man himself is not prepared to estimate how many more international goals he has got left in him, however.

"I won't put a target on how many goals (I can score), but I am happy the record has gone," he said.

"It's such a huge achievement, a great honour and it's a night I will never forget.

"Now I can continue playing for England without having to face questions about the record and I can continue to play and try and score more goals. Who knows where that will take me."

Having not won a major tournament in his international career, Rooney is often not rated as highly as Charlton.

There was no lack of appreciation from team-mates past and present on Tuesday night, however.

Former England captain John Terry wrote on Instagram: "I've had the pleasure to play alongside Wayne and for me he's England's best EVER. I've seen him do things first hand with the ball that I've never seen before."

Another former England skipper Rio Ferdinand wrote on Facebook: "Credit where credit is due please. The fella has 300 career goals.

"This hasn't come about by luck or because he was in a completely successful team and chances were there in large amounts. This has come about through sheer determination."

Being able to watch one of his idols break the record at close quarters meant a lot to 22-year-old Harry Kane.

"It's a huge honour to see him achieve what he has done," said the Tottenham striker, who put England ahead 10 minutes after coming off the bench.

"I grew up watching him play and score goals for England, and I dreamed about playing next to him one day.

"To share that moment with him on the pitch is an incredible moment for me.

"I can't imagine what he's feeling. Hopefully he goes on to smash the record, to score many more goals and hopefully we all just push on as a team."

England will hope to make it 10 wins out of 10 when they face Estonia and Lithuania in their final two Euro 2016 qualifiers next month.

"It would be great to win those and go through winning every game," Rooney added. "Then we have some tricky friendlies which will be good for us."

England Under-21 international Eric Dier has signed a new contract at Tottenham.

Dier, who was brought up in Portugal, signed from Sporting Lisbon for £4million in 2014.

The 21-year-old's extension runs until 2020.

Belfast Telegraph


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