Sir Bobby Charlton has backed England striker Wayne Rooney to break his long-standing goal scoring record – claiming ‘he doesn’t mind’ him taking it.
Rooney is now the country’s fourth-highest goalscorer and while he didn’t add to his tally in the Three Lions’ 2-0 win, he put in a captain’s performance with a lung-busting 60-yard run that began the move for Danny Welbeck’s opener a particular highlight.
After scoring a penalty against Norway last week, Rooney took his total to 41 goals – just eight shy of Charlton’s record.
Speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, Charlton said: “He is really keen to break my record, which seems to have stood for a long time.
“I’ve told him not to worry too much. He has my backing. I’ll be quite happy when it comes.
“I told him: ‘Think hard about it and maybe you’ll have some good news.’
“I’ve had good news from it all my life. I don’t mind him taking it.
“It would a great achievement – and it would be a change for me. That’s good. He’s a good lad and I don’t mind it at all.”
The Manchester United striker is fast closing in on the record, with only Charlton, Gary Lineker (48) and Jimmy Greaves (44) left to surpass.
Rooney is set to break the World Cup-winning hero’s records for both club and country, Charlton’s Old Trafford goal record stands at 249 for club while skipper Wayne has found the net 217 times for the Red Devils.
As well as his records, Charlton is also admired as one of England’s 1966 World Cup heroes and he hopes Rooney will one day be able to replicate that achievement too.
Heavily criticised in the past for a failure to shine at major tournaments, Rooney has taken over the national captaincy as supporters’ interest continue to dwindle with Wembley half-full for the Norway clash.
Charlton, who retired from international duty after the 1970 World Cup, said: “What we have to do now is make sure that he wins. We need to start winning.
“It is all very well having these accolades that people push to you, but you have to make sure you get something out of it.”
Charlton was at the event representing his charity Find A Better Way, which aims to rid the world of the effects of landmines by harnessing cutting-edge technology.
The 76-year-old has gathered people from different fields together and found funding to improve landmine detection.
He said: “There are lots of places I have been to and we have to make sure it is safe.
“There are places where if it is raining people go under the trees, but there are other people that will lay a bomb there simply because people will go under the trees. That can’t be right.
“Now we have improved things and got into the minds of many people who are very interested in helping. We have universities who are helping.
“It’s been fantastic. I’m happy I got it all started but it never stops. We have to keep going.”
Image courtesy of Press Association via YouTube, with thanks.