England captain Wayne Rooney has been in reflective mood on the eve of his 100th international appearance this weekend, sharing memories of a maiden strike for the Three Lions against Macedonia that quite remarkably came more than 11 years ago.
Rooney broke his duck for England aged just 17 years and 317 days all the way back in September 2003, marking his sixth cap in style with the equaliser in a 2-1 win over Macedonia.
The Manchester United skipper's memories of an important goal are still vivid, the starting point of an England career which has been nothing short of a decade-long roller-coaster.
Rooney's maiden strike in Skopje was actually an equaliser in a very important European Championship qualifier, with the memory of that strike most likely kept fresh by it's significance. David Beckham went on to score the winner in that 2-1 success from the penalty spot, on a night where Rooney started up front alongside Michael Owen.
The 29-year-old has been virtually ever present since that first goal and 42 more have followed, with Saturday's 100th cap against Slovenia perhaps not the only individual milestone that the Red Devils marksman has his sights on.
Relief was palpable
Ahead of reaching that amazing century mark Rooney told his official Facebook page: "I'll never forget the special feeling of scoring my first goal for England, and to do it in a European Qualifier made it even better. To be honest it was more a feeling of relief because I’d already played in a few games so you start to wonder when it’s going to come, but thankfully it did in that game against Macedonia!"
England's talisman will be extremely confident of making match number 100 for his country special at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, particularly given his recent form for Roy Hodgson's side.
Rooney has netted four times in three matches since taking over from Steven Gerrard as England captain, a run he'll fully expect to continue as Hodgson's men go in search of a fourth successive qualifying victory against their closest rivals in Group E.
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