The spotlight will be firmly on Wayne Rooney in Serravalle on Saturday, as he bids to become England’s all-time record scorer at a time when his star quality is under close scrutiny.
Rooney sits one behind Bobby Charlton’s milestone haul of 49 goals, but his form against this weekend’s opponents San Marino suggests he has every chance of making history in the Euro 2016 qualifier, even if he has started the season in slugging fashion.
The Manchester United striker has netted in all three of his previous appearances against San Marino, four goals in total following a brace back in 2012.
Roy Hodgson’s men are expected to win comfortably – a result that will secure qualification to next year’s showpiece in France – given that England have triumphed 5-0, 8-0, 5-0, 7-1 and 6-0 in the five previous games between the two nations.
And skipper Rooney will no doubt be relishing the chance to build on the hat-trick that he scored last week at Club Brugge to help United reach the UEFA Champions League group stages.
That treble ended a 10-game goalless streak at club level, a barren spell that prompted criticism of the 29-year-old, although international team-mate Harry Kane is adamant that Rooney remains a potent threat.
“Wayne is in great shape, he is scoring goals and hopefully he can continue that for England at the weekend,” said the Tottenham forward, who himself has failed to fire in front of goal in 2015-16.
“He has still got many more years to come so he has got a great opportunity of getting quite a few more and it’ll be great for the nation if he does.
“Hopefully he can break the England goal record on this trip – that would be great.”
Having netted 30 times in all competitions last term for Spurs, Kane is still waiting to open this account this season.
The 22-year-old added: “As a striker obviously I want to be scoring and San Marino is a good chance for us to get the three points most importantly and hopefully some goals as well.”
England travel to San Marino – 193rd in the FIFA world rankings – top of Group E with six wins from six, while their opponents are bottom and have failed to score during their qualification campaign.
Swansea City midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could make his second appearance for the national team, with his debut coming against San Marino during a World Cup 2014 qualifier back in 2012.
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