Rooney can overtake Greaves as England await Scotland test
Skipper struck 44th England goal against Slovenia and prepares to lead the Auld Enemy in Glasgow
Wayne Rooney won his 100th cap for his country on Saturday night and marked the occasion with his 44th international goal in a sometimes nervy 3-1 win over Slovenia. It puts the England captain level with Jimmy Greaves in the list of England's top goalscorers with only Gary Lineker and Bobby Charlton now ahead of Rooney.
The Manchester United striker will get another opportunity tomorrow night to close in on Charlton's 49-goal record when England play Scotland in a friendly at Celtic Park. The encounter in Glasgow is the result of a reciprocal agreement between the two Football Associations following Scotland's visit to Wembley last year to mark the 150th anniversary of the English FA.
England won 3-2 that day and the Three Lions were also victorious when the two countries last clashed in Glasgow, in 1999 as part of the qualification process for the 2000 European Championships.
England will start as slight favourites for tomorrow's encounter (the 112th between football's oldest international rivals) but the Scots will be buoyed by their 1-0 defeat of Ireland on Friday.
England will also be feeling content as they go to Glasgow on the back of another victory in the qualification group. Their defeat of Slovenia, coupled with Switzerland's 4-0 thrashing of Lithuania, means Roy Hodgson's side are runaway leaders of Group E on 12 points, six more than Slovenia and Switzerland who share second place.
"Our goal before this game was to go into the New Year with 12 points, unbeaten," said Hodgson. "The only disappointment I suppose is that we now can no longer boast about having a clean sheet but I suppose we still can boast that no opponent has scored against us because we put the ball in our own goal for them."
It was Jordan Henderson who put the ball into his own net on 58 minutes before Rooney levelled from the penalty spot a minute later after he'd been felled by Slovenia captain Bostjan Cesar. A brace of goals from Danny Welbeck sealed England's victory and made the night one to remember for Rooney.
"It's a great feeling," he said, having been presented with a golden cap by Bobby Charlton prior to kick-off. "It was a big week and a great occasion... I'll remember it for the rest of my life."
Hodgson will play Rooney tomorrow night though he has sent Joe Hart back to Manchester City to give the goalkeeper some rest before the Premier League programme resumes at the weekend.
No such luck for the England's captain, who had a three game rest in September after being sent off for his club. "Wayne has had an enforced break anyway so he's not been up to his neck in football at the moment," explained Hodgson, who's expecting Tuesday night to be a full-blooded affair.
"I think Scotland are a footballing team," he said. "They are good footballers and I think we've got good footballers. I think it will be more a fierce footballing contest than a fierce physical contest."