Plenty has been said about Wayne Rooney in his career. He went from wonderkid to superstar, from hero to villain, on more than one occasion.
However, one thing that cannot be taken away from him is the fact he is currently England’s all-time leading goalscorer, after scoring his 50th goal in the Three Lions 2-0 victory over Switzerland in Euro 2016 qualifying last night.
It is a major achievement for Wayne Rooney to beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record for England and it should be celebrated, despite the criticism that sometimes comes the Manchester United striker’s way.
Even his predecessor Sir Bobby Charlton was quick to congratulate the striker saying: “I would like to congratulate Wayne on becoming England’s leading goalscorer. I have always been very proud to hold this record. Playing for my country was always an honour and a privilege and something I did with great pride.
“I obviously cannot deny that I am disappointed that I now don’t hold this record, however, I am absolutely delighted that it is Wayne, as captain of my beloved club and country, who now holds this record.
“On behalf of myself and everyone at Manchester United I would like to say congratulations Wayne, this is a very proud moment for you and your family.”
Ever since he broke onto the football scene at just 16 years-old Wayne Rooney has been put under immense pressure to perform and sometimes that has got the better of the United star. For over a decade he has worked hard for the national team and tried his hardest.
However, at times he has let himself and country down, red cards at vital times, underperformances at big tournaments and a famous rant at his own supporters amongst his misdemeanours in the past decade.
I have heard lots of claims from fans and media that Wayne Rooney has underachieved in his career, and maybe they have a point. He has not performed at the big tournaments and should have scored more tournament goals for a player of his standing.
However, it is the media who have built Rooney up from an early age, just so they can knock him down, like they have done with so many players in the past.
The striker was always a very good player, but he was never in the same league as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, or Lionel Messi, players he has been unfairly compared to in the past by the media.
Those players will be regarded as some of the greats of football, but Wayne Rooney was never quite in the same bracket.
Wayne Rooney does come in for major criticism by fans and media alike, but you cannot deny his passion for the game, or playing for his national team. Maybe at big tournaments he has tried too hard to impress and that has led to disappointing displays.
His character and temperament have often got him into trouble, but at the end of the day he is a winner, and when he is not winning he does get frustrated.
Rooney is a leader for the current England team. The youngsters look up to him, because he has been England’s outstanding talent in recent years. He leads by example with his work-rate and in recent years seems to have matured slightly.
Rooney never seems to stop running for England and even if he is having an off-day he is still working for the good of the team. The youngsters can learn a lot from Rooney’s attitude towards playing for his country.
Rooney is 29-years-old and is far from finished on both the club and international stage. He still has plenty more games to play and plenty more goals to score. The United striker is currently the fifth most capped player in the history of the Three Lions with 107 caps.
The current record is 125 appearances set by the great Peter Shilton and you certainly would not bet against Rooney breaking that record as well, especially if England do well at Euro 2016, which they are currently odds of 10/1 to win.
Wayne Rooney has now set a benchmark for England forwards of the future to attempt to beat and is likely to add to that tally before his international career comes to an end. It seems doubtful that the record will stand for another 45 years, as it did with Charlton though.
Should Wayne Rooney be considered one of England’s best ever players?