Goals are of little value to Rooney as he targets finals place

Wayne Rooney (top) celebrates with his England team-mates after their side's second goal against Slovenia on Sunday. Picture: Mike Egerton/P.
Wayne Rooney (top) celebrates with his England team-mates after their side's second goal against Slovenia on Sunday. Picture: Mike Egerton/P.
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Wayne Rooney insists his main focus when he joins up with England after the summer will be guaranteeing qualification for Euro 2016, rather than becoming the first man to break the 50-goal barrier for his country.

Rooney’s goal ensured England maintained their 100 per cent qualifying record on Sunday night when they beat Slovenia 3-2.

It also moved the Manchester United captain to within one goal of Sir Bobby Charlton’s national scoring record.

“I was delighted to get the winning goal, which is a big three points for us and a step closer to Sir Bobby’s record,” said the 29-year-old.

“I am sure that will come. But at the moment I am trying to concentrate on helping the team win games, get points and qualify for the European Championships.”

As well as Rooney, Hodgson should take some praise for the way he has led England since their World Cup elimination, the England coach becoming the first in 24 years to enjoy an unbeaten season as England manager.

“That is very pleasing,” said Hodgson, who has won all six qualifiers since Brazil.

“We have a year to work on our play so that come next summer we are an even better team than we are today.”

A week after playing out a dull goalless draw in the Republic of Ireland, England fans saw a much better performance from their team as they came from behind to beat Slovenia in Ljubljana.

Many rushed to predict a bleak future for England in the wake of the stalemate in Dublin.

ITV apologised for broadcasting the match and Rooney’s former England and Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes described the friendly as a “waste of space”.

Rooney, therefore, was delighted to prove the naysayers wrong and record a valuable win.

“Last week the lads had a bit of a break and we knew it was going to be a difficult game (in Ireland) because we were focusing on Slovenia,” added Rooney. “That game happened – we didn’t play well but we didn’t get beat. Sunday will prove to be a big performance for a lot of the players in the coming year – they will certainly benefit from it.”