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Rooney primed to make England history against San Marino

04 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rooney primed to make England history against San Marino

The Euro 2016 qualifier is the perfect opportunity for England's captain to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton as the country's all-time leading scorer

Numbers do not lie.

Two goals for Wayne Rooney against San Marino on Saturday will make him his country’s all-time leading scorer.

Discussions about what makes an England great, therefore, are futile.

Once Rooney overtakes Sir Bobby Charlton’s 45-year record – a scenario first mooted when the player made his international debut as a 17-year-old in 2003 – his status will be guaranteed.

The 29-year-old’s closing in on the required 50 goals has, in truth, been the only thing worth talking about during England’s unmemorable procession to Euro 2016.

But a new narrative will be required once this Group E qualifier against San Marino is done.

It is perfectly poised for Rooney, who has 48 goals in 105 appearances, to leapfrog Charlton and help secure the three points that should secure England’s place at the tournament in France next year.

The captain has struck eight times in his last nine qualifiers – including a penalty in the 5-0 win at Wembley against the same opposition last October – and he is 9/4 to open the scoring on Saturday.

The Manchester United forward, who ended his club drought with three goals against Club Brugge last week, is 3/1 to notch another hat-trick.

Another striker struggling at domestic level, meanwhile, is Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

While likely to be introduced from the substitutes’ bench, the 22-year-old will be confident of opening his account for the season against part-time opposition.

Kane scored the last goal of the match when making his senior debut in the 4-0 win over Lithuania in March and is 5/2 to do so again on Saturday.

Games against European minnows are certainly ideal for players looking to boost both their self-esteem and tallies.

England have scored 31 times in their last five matches against San Marino – an average of more than six per match – and it is 7/4 that more than 6.5 goals are scored in Serravalle this weekend.

Roy Hodgson’s side recorded an 8-0 win on their last visit – and a repeat of that result is 10/1.

It is a humbling prospect for San Marino, who earned their first ever UEFA Euro qualifying point after 61 attempts when drawing 0-0 with Estonia last November.

But even a battling draw on home soil is beyond them.

A goal, however, might not be.

In 1993, San Marino scored after 8.3 seconds in 7-1 defeat to Graham Taylor’s England.

That remains the fastest in the history of the World Cup (both in qualifiers and the tournament itself) and they are 11/2 to grab another famous consolation.

Even if that happens, though, the fixture is likely to be remembered for a personal milestone reached by Rooney – a player who has represented his country with distinction for 12 years.

And those footballing conservationists who will inevitably resent a polarising, modern-day footballer for overtaking a legend of the sport can take solace in another indisputable fact.

Charlton still has the one thing Rooney would presumably swap all of his international goals for: a World Cup winners’ medal.

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