England v Switzerland: Rooney’s scoring record is incredible, says Hodgson

AHEAD OF a night that could end with him standing alone as England’s all-time top goalscorer, Wayne Rooney admits any decision as to how long his international career lasts is likely to be down to the manager.

Manager Roy Hodgson, seen in the background, says England captain Wayne Rooney never plays to grab headlines (Picture: John Walton/PA).

The Three Lions captain needs to score against Switzerland at Wembley to beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s 45-year record of 49 goals.

With Roy Hodgson’s men having already qualified for Euro 2016, the main focus for a 60,000 plus crowd is likely to be whether history can be made by the Manchester United and England captain.

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Hodgson hopes his 29-year-old talisman can give the supporters what they crave, not least because “we could have a few press conferences where Wayne’s able to talk about other things”, joked the England chief yesterday.

For Rooney, surpassing Charlton would be far from the end of his story in international football with the next World Cup in Russia very much in his sights.

As with every footballer, however, an end will eventually come – just do not expect a forward with 106 caps to his name to make that decision.

“I said the other night,” said Rooney ahead of tonight’s qualifier, “I feel I am capable of going to Russia. After that, it may be a realistic time to see how I feel and if I feel it is not right for England or myself, I will have a decision to make.

“Or the manager would have a decision to make. If I feel I can carry on. I’ll try, but I won’t be one to say I am not available for selection. I am sure it will probably be the manager’s choice more than mine. It is a huge honour to play for England.”

Rooney, despite his most impressive major tournament coming in Portugal 11 years ago, remains the Three Lions’ biggest hope of making a telling impact in France next summer.

Hodgson appreciates that better than anyone, not least because of the selfless manner in which his captain approaches international football.

“Wayne’s record is quite incredible,” the Three Lions’ chief added. “Goodness knows how many caps he can get in the future and how many goals he will score.

“The good thing with Wayne (is) I never get the impression watching Wayne Rooney play that he is playing to score goals and to grab headlines. He is trying to help his team win.

“If helping his team win means staying away from the penalty area or running back into his own penalty area to stop the other team scoring, that is what this man does.

“That is why we all appreciate him so much and that is why he’s captain of our team.”

As much faith as Hodgson retains in Rooney, the England manager is well aware that his side cannot rely too much on their captain.

Others have to step up and take on the mantle of match-winner – which is something a squad containing the likes of Raheem Sterling, Theo Walcott and Harry Kane provides, according to the 68-year-old.

“If you go back over the recent past,” said Hodgson, “that could be an accusation: not enough players able to step up and score the goals when needed. But that is the past.

“We have got to make sure we find and encourage those people. Potentially, we will have players on the field (against Switzerland) who can score goals and help us.

“But I will not be able to sit here and say with certainty that we have them until they have done it. We have a year.

“I intend to give them every opportunity to show they can do it. That is all a coach can do. They have to go on the field and repay the trust we have in them by doing it.”

Meanwhile, the Football Association have confirmed England will be based at the exclusive Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel in Chantilly for next summer’s 
finals.

Hodgson’s squad will train at local amateur club US Chantilly, using a facility that Hodgson insists will be renovated extensively ahead of his players’ arrival.

He added: “We had a very clear set of criteria that we wanted to fulfil in this base camp. Proximity to the training ground, the type of town where the camp would be, proximity to the airport and quite a few other criteria.”

Chantilly, which has a population of 11,000, is around 35 miles from Paris.

England, the first nation to qualify for Euro 2016 after the hosts, will discover the identity of their group stage opponents when the draw is made on December 12.

Match preview: Page 18.