Wayne Rooney says he can’t be considered an England great unless he manages to capture an elusive victory in an international tournament.
The Manchester United and England captain will make his 100th cap when Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions take on Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday.
And earlier this week, England’s third-time top goal-scorer Gary Lineker told the BBC that the striker deserved to be regarded as a great for his nation, but Rooney has shaken off that praise.
“To get 100 caps for England – there’s not many players who have done it – would be a great achievement,” the 29-year-old said.
“I’ll be proud to join that club and is something that myself and my family would be honoured by.
“But I could sit here saying I’ve got 200 caps and 100 goals for my country, but the ultimate is to win a trophy and that’s what we all want to do.
“That’s why we play football, to win. That’s the target and hopefully sometime soon we can achieve that.”
Lineker, who joined Barcelona in the summer of 1986 after claiming the Golden Boot at that year’s World Cup in Mexico, said that although the Reds’ skipper has yet to perform at his best in major tournaments, he is still one of the nation’s finest.
“He has to rank right up there in the pantheon of English football’s finest,” Lineker said. “There is no doubt he is a great player.”
“It has not quite happened for him in major tournaments for various reasons, barring the first one, where he exploded on to the scene in 2004 and played so well.”
Rooney is just six goals shy of Sir Bobby Charlton’s England record – with the United legend having notched up 49 strikes.
He arrived on the international scene in Euro 2004 at the age of 18, where his impressive tally of four goals in four games earned him a big money move to Old Trafford from Everton later that summer.
And the combative forward has set his sights on beating Charlton’s record.
“To be England’s greatest ever goals scorer would be massive,” Rooney continued.
“The record has stood for so many years, there have been plenty of players who haven’t been able to break it. I’m still relatively young and believe I can do it and hopefully that record will come.
“Obviously I’m not going to be as big a legend as Sir Bobby Charlton – he’s won the World Cup with England – so to eclipse that I’d have to win the World Cup, which would be a massive achievement.”
Image courtesy of England Football Official via YouTube, with thanks.