Wayne Rooney an England great, but not in Sir Bobby Charlton's bracket

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As the sunlight shone on a hot evening in San Marino on Saturday, Roy Hodgson's England secured Euro 2016 qualification with three games still to play.

Nothing but fantastic news for the whole of the United Kingdom amidst a quest for all home nations to qualify for next year's tournament in France.

And yet this was arguably second-rate news that night, with Wayne Rooney making history by equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's England goalscoring record of 49 goals from the penalty spot in his side's 6-0 win - an unbelievable achievement for the Manchester United man.


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However, whilst statistics might tell a different story, Rooney shouldn't be heralded amongst the likes of Charlton, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves etc.

The reason for this is simply that whilst Rooney's goalscoring record is phenomenal, they've mostly been in qualifying campaigns or friendlies.

The numbers speak for themselves:

European Championship goals - 6
World Cup goals - 1
WC and Euro Qualifying goals - 28
Friendly goals - 14

When you look at the numbers this way instead, the feat seems rather less impressive.

Of course, Rooney is still an England great regardless of how he scored his goals, that much can't be argued, and a goalscoring record like this shouldn't be undermined.

But compared to England legend Gary Lineker, who won the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup, Rooney's goals have come at a time of lesser importance, even if they have helped England reach major tournament finals.

Rooney's goals have, in a sense, essentially achieved little more than qualification into tournaments - something that is expected of England anyway. Charlton's goals, on the other hand, led England to their sole World Cup triumph in 1966, three of which coming in the finals themselves.

Scoring 49 goals, and perhaps more, is an achievement that few can belittle, yet there's still a sense of sourness that Rooney's record will place him in the regard of those that performed both on the small and big stage and when it mattered most, rather than in games of a lesser magnitude.

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England Football
Wayne Rooney

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