Former England striker Alan Shearer has tipped Wayne Rooney to become the nation’s all-time top scorer by the time his international career ends.
After scoring his 29th goal against Ukraine on Tuesday, the Manchester United man lies in sixth place in the goalscoring charts, one goal behind fifth spot that is shared by Tom Finney, Nat Lofhouse and Shearer himself.
Bobby Charlton is the all-time top scorer with 49, one clear of Gary Lineker with Jimmy Greaves (44) and Michael Owen (40) the next best.
And BBC pundit Shearer, who finished his Three Lions career with 30 goals in 63 appearances, believes the 27-year-old United star has the ability to take on the legends and become England’s greatest-ever striker.
“I hope by the end of this tournament he has smashed my record,” Shearer told The Sun.
“If he has then who knows what we will have achieved. He is still just 27, so he could go on and be the number one.
“It is some challenge but that is what Wayne loves. He will certainly be looking forward to the next challenge against Italy on Sunday.”
Shearer reflected on the England number 10′s lacklustre performance in Donetsk after finishing his suspension and playing his first match of Euro 2012.
“It wasn’t his greatest game and he missed a good chance early on,” he said.
“But he showed his instinct to be in the right place for the goal no matter how the ball got there.
“Great strikers can have poor games but still come out with a goal.
“Now after getting that game under his belt and a goal, I expect us to see a much better Wayne Rooney against Italy.”
England face Italy in the quarter-finals on Sunday.