Rooney fells Scotland as young England show steel in Glasgow
Man United striker closes in on Bobby Charlton's goal record with a brace at Celtic Park
Scotland 1 England 3. Two goals from Wayne Rooney helped the Three Lions to a comfortable win over the Auld Enemy in Glasgow and also brought the England striker closer to Bobby Charlton's record of 49 goals for his country.
Rooney's double strike against the Scots means the Manchester United striker now has 46 goals to his name, two fewer than Gary Lineker and three shy of the record set by Charlton when he retired from international football in 1970. "It's not just the goals with Wayne Rooney, is it?," mused England manager Roy Hodgson after the victory at Celtic Park. "It's his work-rate, his understanding of what we're trying to do, it's his influence on the field."
Rooney, winning his 101st cap, was England's most experienced player in a side streaked with youth. As well as the Southampton duo of Fraser Forster and Nathaniel Clyne, Manchester United's 19-year-old defender Luke Shaw was given a start as was Arsenal's 21-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Prior to the friendly international, Rooney had warned his teammates to expect a hostile atmosphere but England showed no signs of being overwhelmed by the Celtic Park crowd. "I think my team really enjoyed the atmosphere," said Hodgson. "We established control and I thought there were very few periods in the game where we didn't have full control... there was some incredible effort there. And defensively we were very solid."
In truth there was a clear gulf in class between the two teams, the Scots fielding a side still on a high after defeating Ireland 1-0 last week in a crucial Euro 16 qualifier. But only two of their starting XI play in the Premier League (Hull City's Robertson and Everton's Steven Naismith) and that was painfully clear as England dominated their hosts.
The opening goal arrived shortly after the half hour mark when Jack Wilshere picked out his Arsenal teammate Oxlade-Chamberlain with a pass that required a glancing header to beat David Marshall in the Scotland goal. Any hopes of a swift Scotland revival in the second half were quashed when Rooney reacted impressively to a rebound from Wilshere's shot, heading the ball into the net on 47 minutes.
Scotland flared briefly in the closing stages, Andrew Robertson pulling a goal back on 83 minutes after a surging run into the England area. But barely a minute later England had added a third, Rooney lashing the ball home after good work down the right flank by Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.
England remain unbeaten since returning from their dismal World Cup campaign with six straight victories and even Scotland manager Gordon Strachan was impressed. "That's as good as I've seen England play in a while," he said, adding that his players "were mentally fatigued from Friday".
There were no signs of fatigue from Rooney, whose game seems to have sharpened since he was handed the responsibility of skippering the side in September. "I'm enjoying my football," he told reporters. "I've always loved playing for England, I'm on a good run of goals and I hope that continues."