England vs Slovenia: Wayne Rooney to lead out Three Lions with his two children by his side to celebrate 100 caps for his country

The England captain is likely to earn his 100th cap against Slovenia next month and will have sons Kai and Klay alongside him

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The Independent Online

Wayne Rooney will celebrate racking up a century of England caps by walking out at Wembley next month with his two children.

After three World Cups, two European Championships and 43 goals, the 28-year-old is just one game shy of joining an illustrious eight-strong list of players to have represented the Three Lions on 100-or-more occasions.

Rooney will soon be bracketed alongside the like of Bobby Moore, David Beckham and Sir Bobby Charlton, with his 100th cap set to arrive in next month's European Championship qualifier against Slovenia.

It is an achievement the striker is understandably proud of, nearly 12 years after coming off the bench for his debut as a fresh-faced teenager in a friendly defeat to Australia.

"[I did not think it was possible] when I first got into the team," Rooney said. "But over the last two or three years when I got into the 70s, 80s, 90s then you know it is going to happen.

 

"It will be nice to get it and hopefully there will be many more after. I think I'll be the youngest to do it but I started younger than most players start international football. It will be a special moment for me."

Rooney would have liked to bring up a century in next month's mouth-watering friendly in Scotland, yet the match against Slovenia will be a special occasion - one which he will celebrate by walking out with his boys Kai and Klay.

"It will be great," Rooney said. "It would have been nice if it was against Scotland at Celtic Park, but it's a great honour to get 100 caps for England

"I'll be looking forward to it and excited about the next game.

"Obviously my two boys will walk onto the pitch with me, but that will be it I think."

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Rooney applauds the England fans after Sunday's 1-0 win over Estonia

England manager Roy Hodgson thinks it is remarkable that Rooney is set to reach the landmark so early in his career.

"For me 100 caps for England is some achievement because the competition you face for your shirt in England all the time should be enormous," Hodgson said.

"He has taken a bashing over the years and that has toughened him up.

"He will sweat everything he has for England."

Rooney's 100th appearance will be an occasion which could be all the more poignant if he can continue to close in on Charlton's England scoring record of 49.

Rooney is six shy of the Manchester United great's haul after scoring a free-kick in Sunday's 1-0 win in Estonia, moving him within a goal of third-placed Jimmy Greaves.

"Obviously as I'm edging closer to it I think about it," he said of the record. "But I'm a strong believer in if it's going to happen it will.

"When that time comes I'll be delighted, but at the minute it's a matter of I want to score tonight for the three points. And thankfully against Estonia it went on well and we won."

Rooney's free-kick helped make up for a profligate night individually and collectively at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn.

England sit top of Group E having won all three matches to date, with that fine start making them as short as 1/10 favourites to win the group.

"The qualification campaign is going as well as we could have hoped for," Rooney said. "We know we have the quality in the team.

"The pleasing thing is since the World Cup the lads are willing to learn, take information in. That's not just on the pitch, in the hotel we're doing a lot of work to make sure we get the small details right.

"The lads are really bang into it. Obviously I'm not going to come out (and) reveal the private details but we're learning every time and every time we get together it's great to see how much we are getting better."

Rooney and his team-mates now have a month before reconvening - a time which the Manchester United captain will spend half of twiddling his thumbs after picking up a three-match ban for kicking out at West Ham's Stewart Downing.

"I'll train with the team and sit out at the weekend," he said. "I won't be going on holiday or anything like that.

"I'll be training hard, keeping myself in good shape and making sure I'm ready for the Man City game when I'm back."

PA

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