England v Switzerland: Rooney hoping for Wembley milestone

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney
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Wayne Rooney hopes to break England’s goalscoring record against Switzerland at Wembley but his focus is on Roy Hodgson’s men sealing top spot in Euro 2016 qualifying Group E.

Manchester United forward Rooney equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s England record of 49 goals by scoring in Saturday’s 6-0 defeat of San Marino, a win which secured their place for France next summer.

And the 29-year-old England captain has loftier goal targets and is prepared to be patient if number 50 does not happen against the Swiss.

“It would be nice to do it at Wembley,” Rooney said.

“It would be nice to do it and move on from that and concentrate on the team again. That’s the most important thing. To try to win the game tomorrow and finish the group top.

“If it happens tomorrow then great.

“If not, it’s not something that will concern me. The main concern is the game.

“I feel I’ve still got quite a lot of games left to play for England. If I was sat here saying ‘I just want to get 50 goals’ then I’d be lying.

“I’d be disappointed if I ended my England career on 50 goals. I want to kick on and try to score as many goals as I can.

“I’ve still got plenty of games to do that. Hopefully by the time I finish playing it will be more goals than 50.”

Hodgson hopes Rooney reaches the landmark, having substituted his captain on Saturday.

“It’s going to happen. For Wayne’s sake, it’s no doubt the sooner the better,” Hodgson said.

“I can afford to be patient but I’d like it to happen tomorrow night, because then we could have a few press conferences where Wayne’s able to talk about other things, other than the pressure he feels under to score the 50th goal.”

Hodgson lauded the selfless team man that is Rooney, who has reached his tally in 106 appearances, the same record as Charlton.

“Wayne’s record is quite incredible,” Hodgson added.

“Goodness knows how many caps he can get in the future and how many goals he’ll score.

“The good thing with Wayne (is) I never get the impression watching Wayne Rooney play that he’s playing to score goals and to grab headlines. He’s trying to help his team win.

“If helping his team win means staying away from the penalty area or running back into his own penalty area to stop the other team scoring, that’s what this man does.

“That’s why we all appreciate him so much and that’s why he’s captain of our team.”

England have chosen Chantilly as their Euro 2016 base, but Hodgson admits there is work to do in the French town before it is ready to host his players.

Two days after England secured qualification, the Football Association confirmed the team will be based at the exclusive Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel during the tournament.

And Hodgson’s squad will train at the training ground for local amateur club US Chantilly.

The training ground currently only has basic facilities, so it will be renovated prior to the tournament.

Hodgson said: “I’m sure those people who race over tomorrow to look at it will see something a little bit different than in June because there is work to be done.”

“It’s a base we’ve spent a long time preparing for. We looked at other places in France before we made up our mind.

“We had a very clear set of criteria that we wanted to fulfil in this base camp: proximity to the training ground, the type of town where the camp would be, proximity to the airport and quite a few other criteria.

“When we looked around we eventually came to the conclusion that Chantilly was the one which best filled the criteria.”

Chantilly, which has a population of 11,000, is around 35 miles from the centre of the French capital. It is world renowned for its cream and lace.

England will discover who they will face at the tournament when the group-stage draw is made in Paris on December 12.

Hodgson is keen to give his players, with a 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifying Group E ahead of Tuesday night’s match with Switzerland at Wembley, every opportunity to win the competition.

He added: “We’ll try to leave no stone unturned, no detail left to chance.

“We’ll be working hard to make sure when the players go into the first game they’ll feel, ‘we’re ready for this, we’re capable of achieving what the nation would like to see us achieve and we’re ready’. As a football coach, that’s all you can do.”

Hodgson also spoke of implementing ideas to boost the England team’s opportunities, but he was not prepared to reveal more.

“It would be nice if one or two of the ideas we have and which will be mooted in due course, if they didn’t fall upon deaf ears,” he said.

“We have lots of ideas, but at the moment we haven’t even run those ideas through the players.

“Before we start mooting any ideas, we’ll be talking to the players to find out what their thoughts on the subject are.”