England manager Roy Hodgson has labelled Wayne Rooney’s international record as “incredible” ahead of the striker’s attempt to become the nation’s all-time top goalscorer against Switzerland on Tuesday.
The Manchester United star equalled Bobby Charlton’s mark of 49 international goals in the 6-0 Euro 2016 qualification victory over San Marino on Saturday and will move clear on his own at the top of the Three Lions’ list if he can strike against the Swiss when he wins his 107th cap at Wembley.
Hodgson is hopeful the record will be broken to ensure his captain is not distracted and paid tribute to the 29-year-old’s England contributions since his debut in 2003.
“Wayne’s record is quite incredible – at 29 with 107 caps,” the 68-year-old said. “As his manager, I say he can play for a lot longer so goodness knows how many goals he can get in future.
“I can be patient but I would like it to happen against Switzerland and then we can have press conferences about other things than the pressure he feels under. It is going to happen so for Wayne’s sake I guess the sooner the better.
“His record speaks for itself. Comparisons aren’t always a good thing, especially from different eras. Good players are good players whether they are from 1950 or 2020.
“But I never get the impression watching him that he is playing for goals or headlines. I sense he is trying to help team win. If that means staying out from penalty area or tracking back then that is what this man does.
“That is why we appreciate him and that is why he is captain.”
The England boss also attempted to play down concerns over Michael Carrick, who has withdrawn from the squad after injuring his calf in the warm-up prior to the San Marino win.
Hodgson said: “It is a calf and we don’t believe it is serious. It is strange because it came out of nowhere.
“It was the start of the warm-up in San Marino and he felt something very small so we didn’t push that. He had a preliminary scan with our doctors and they decided there was something there.
“It is up to Manchester United to look more closely, but we don’t believe it is long term.
“We will wait and see who replaces him, but there are other options. We have Delph, we have Mason, we have Milner so we have options without radically changing the system.
“The players know the team but I’m not in the habit of announcing it. There will be some changes.”