England vs San Marino: Wayne Rooney admits there is 'no denying' match represents excellent chance to add to goal tally

Captain is closing in on all-time record

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The Independent Football

England manager Roy Hodgson has a fully-fit squad to select from for Thursday night's European Championship qualifier against San Marino.

Fabian Delph sat out training on Tuesday and was feared to be a doubt but Hodgson, while remaining tight-lipped on final team selection, revealed on Wednesday that he had no injury worries.

"He (Delph) took a knock at the weekend but he trained fully today," he told a press conference televised by Sky Sports News.

"We've been fortunate to come through with all the players that we've selected (in) training."

With San Marino the joint-lowest ranked team in the world, it has been speculated that Hodgson may field a weakened side but the manager dismissed those suggestions while admitting he is not afraid to use his squad.

"We're not planning on wholesale changes," he said.

"We are keen to keep the momentum going. I think the players who played against Norway and against Switzerland did a good job and deserve a further confidence.

"But on the other hand there are a lot of players who are knocking on the door and would like to get into the team and I've got to weigh the two things very carefully.

"Keeping the team together but maybe also using at least one of these two games as a chance to see somebody else play."

He added: "I think that the players I select tomorrow will be anxious to play at the highest of their levels. That should be difficult for a team like San Marino to live with if we reach that goal and I think that that will lead to us scoring goals.

"But quite frankly, I don't think that the qualification this time around is going to hang on goal difference anyway."

With Kevin Pietersen's allegations of bullying in the England cricket dressing room still fresh in the public conciousness, Hodgson was quick to point out that he has never had any such issues with the Three Lions and insisted the spirit within the dressing room was good.

"I've been very lucky in the two years or so that I've had the privilege of leading the team. I must say I've haven't noticed any problems like that," he said.

"I'm not particularly patting myself on the back or anyone on the back because dressing rooms can be very difficult places."

He added: "We haven't had that problem, we work very hard not to have that problem and we are working very hard at the moment to make sure that we are all singing off the same hymn sheet, that we are taking ownership of what we're trying to do."

Captain Wayne Rooney is just three goals behind Jimmy Greaves in the England scoring charts and eight behind England's all-time leader Sir Bobby Charlton.

With San Marino and Estonia to face in the next five days, it could be assumed that the Manchester United striker could take a large step towards surpassing those landmarks, and Rooney admits it is in the back of his mind.

"It's there. There's no denying it," he said. "Jimmy Greaves is there and if I can overtake him this week, in the coming weeks, the coming months (then) that would be great.

"It's not something going into the game (I'm) thinking: 'Oh, I've got to beat Jimmy Greaves' record to get close to Bobby Charlton'.

"I'm wanting to do well for the team and if I can score goals then great and the most important thing for us is to perform well and to win the games."

PA

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