Wayne Rooney: England striker 'honoured' to equal record

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in San Marino
Wayne Rooney goes top of England goalscoring chart

England striker Wayne Rooney described equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's scoring record as a "huge honour" after moving level with the World Cup winner on 49 goals for his country.

Rooney, 29, scored a penalty in a 6-0 win in San Marino to equal Charlton's tally, before being substituted.

"To be level with Sir Bobby is a huge honour, a great moment and I am very proud of it," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Hopefully I will surpass that and become the outright leader."

It was a routine dismissal by England of the side ranked 193rd in the world.

After Rooney's early penalty, Cristian Brolli headed into his own net before half-time to double the visitors' lead.

Ross Barkley nodded in his first goal for his country straight after the break before England raced clear with two goals from substitute Theo Walcott and Harry Kane's fine chipped finish.

Rooney substitution was planned - Hodgson

Wayne Rooney
Rooney was substituted in the second half, being replaced by Tottenham's Harry Kane

England's victory confirmed their qualification for Euro 2016 in France next summer.

Manager Roy Hodgson replaced Rooney with Kane just before the hour mark - depriving his captain of the chance to surpass Charlton on Saturday - but insisted the substitution was always going to happen.

"It was planned - in fact the team we put out was planned with a view to Tuesday night against Switzerland," said Hodgson.

"It would be nice if Wayne got his 50th goal against Switzerland, but one thing for certain is that he will get it. It is not as if this was his last game and his only chance.

"If this was his last game for England and he needed that one goal, then I wouldn't have taken him off."

Shelvey shines on England return

Hodgson was delighted with the performance of Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who was outstanding on his first England appearance in almost three years.

The 23-year-old capped his performance by making the fifth goal for substitute Kane.

He said: "I thought Jonjo showed real maturity out there. We all know what he can do with his passes and with his capacity to find passes, but I also thought he was extremely assured in possession.

"He was excellent."

Young guns win Hodgson praise

Ross Barkley and John Stones
Everton's Ross Barkley and John Stones both earned praise from the England manager

Hodgson has occasionally tempered his excitement at the emergence of Barkley with words of caution, but he was upbeat about the midfielder - who scored England's third goal - and his Everton team-mate John Stones.

He also had words of praise for Tottenham striker Kane, who netted his first goal of the season after scoring 31 in all competitions in his breakthrough campaign.

The Everton pair are both only 21, while Kane is 22, and Hodgson said: "I thought Ross got stronger as the game went in on a new position, and of course he also got a goal.

Wayne Rooney - England striker "honoured" to equal record

"Harry Kane was getting so many plaudits last season and sometimes after the plaudits come a few slaps. He took his goal very well so we hope this will set him off.

"We also saw again that John is a remarkably accomplished player for one so young. I would put Harry in the same bracket as John as two players who will have long England careers, continue to improve, and put people like Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka under even more pressure than they are at the moment."

Time for England experimentation

England's qualification for Euro 2016 with three games to spare has given Hodgson the perfect chance to study the options within his squad - and it is an opportunity he intends to take.

He said: "I'm not sure early qualification gives us any particular advantage because we are going to take a lot of time to plan and improve anyway.

"What it could do is give me the opportunity for experimentation because we did not get that ahead of the World Cup when we had to win our last two qualifiers to get to Brazil."

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