Wayne Rooney named England captain - one of 2014's top moments

Rooney dragged England to victory against Estonia (©GettyImages)

Each day of December we will announce a sporting highlight from 2014 with the countdown culminating with the Number 1 moment being announced on New Year's Eve.

Continuing the countdown at Number 29 is Wayne Rooney being named the new England captain and how the future looks bright for a young national team.

In a World Cup year which didn’t go to plan for England, two long-time stalwarts moved on and retired from international football. As Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard called time on their England careers a new captain was needed to replace the reliable midfield pair who had taken the armband over the years.

100 percent record

With a young squad now put in place for a less than challenging Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and confidence around the national team at an all time low, the pressure was on both Roy Hodgson and newly named England captain Wayne Rooney to rebuild.

Now the most experienced member of the England squad, the Manchester United striker has grown with the responsibility of leading his country. This in turn has led to England have a 100 percent record in Euro 2016 qualifying heading into next year.

Rooney stated: "One of my proudest moments in an England shirt was my first competitive game as captain.

"To be named as England captain was a dream come true for me and my family and something I am extremely proud of."

This first competitive game came away in Switzerland where England would face arguably their toughest game of their qualifying campaign.

An assured performance and a brace from Danny Welbeck boosted confidence in England once again, as the Three Lions won 2-0 against a team that had pushed World Cup runners up Argentina all the way in Brazil.

Rooney himself scored a crucial free kick away to Estonia the following month as he single handedly dragged England to a 1-0 win.

The striker has also joined an elite club in reaching 100 caps for his country, joining Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Bobby Moore, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright with a century of appearances for England.

This achievement came earlier this month against Slovenia at Wembley where a Rooney penalty led to a 3-1 comeback win.

Scoring record

Despite these historical accomplishments, a greater challenge lies ahead as Bobby Charlton’s elusive England all-time goal scoring record of 49 is within touching distance to not only be reached but beaten considerably in the coming years.

Rooney moved closer to this elusive target with a brace against Scotland at Celtic Park where his passion for his country was evident in an emotional celebration in front of the fans who had made the trip across the border.

The Manchester United star will also be looking to create further history in being the only England player to play in four World Cup's if he can maintain his form up to Russia 2018.

With Rooney at the helm of a young, exciting and fast paced squad, England fans can look to the future with optimism and potentially ending so many years of disappointment in major tournaments. 

GMS 2014 Moments so far -

29. Wayne Rooney named England Captain

30. Bradley Wiggins wins World Time Trial Championship

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