Switzerland vs England: Sir Bobby Charlton backs captain Wayne Rooney to break his English goalscoring record

Rooney's penalty against Norway on Wednesday took him to fourth in the all-time chart and leaves the striker just eight behind World Cup-winner Charlton

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The Independent Online

England's greatest goalscorer Sir Bobby Charlton has backed Wayne Rooney to break his longstanding record.

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New England captain Rooney is closing in on Charlton's international tally of 49 having scored for England for the 41st time against Norway last week.

Rooney is now the country's fourth-highest goalscorer with only Charlton, Gary Lineker (48) and Jimmy Greaves (44) ahead of him.

Charlton, 76, could also see his record Manchester United mark of 249 beaten by the club's current skipper Rooney, who has netted 217 times for the Old Trafford club.

 

Charlton, who retired from international duty after the 1970 World Cup, told Press Association Sport: "He is really keen to break my record, which seems to have stood for a long time.

"I've told him not to worry too much. He has my backing. I'll be quite happy when it comes.

"I told him, 'Think hard about it and maybe you'll have some good news'.

"I've had good news from it all my life. I don't mind him taking it.

"It would a great achievement - and it would be a change for me. That's good. He's a good lad and I don't mind it at all."

As well as his records, Charlton is also revered as one of England's 1966 World Cup winners and he hopes Rooney will one day be able to add team success to his international achievements.

Rooney has been criticised in the past for a failure to shine at major tournaments and he has taken over the national captaincy at a tough time after a poor World Cup campaign.

Charlton, speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, said: "What we have to do now is make sure that he wins. We need to start winning. It is all very well having these accolades that people push to you, but you have to make sure you get something out of it."

Charlton was representing his charity 'Find A Better Way' which aims to rid the world of effects of landmines by harnessing cutting-edge technology.

Traditional methods of finding landmines in former war zones using crude metal detectors are slow and dangerous.

Charlton has brought people from different fields together and found funding from many sources to find better ways of detection.

Rooney-Sterling.jpg
Rooney could be moved to accommodate Raheem Sterling in his favoured No 10 role

He said: "There are lots of places I have been to and we have to make sure it is safe.

"There are places where if it is raining people go under the trees, but there are other people that will lay a bomb there simply because people will go under the trees. That can't be right.

"Now we have improved things and got into the minds of many people who are very interested in helping. We have universities who are helping.

"It's been fantastic. I'm happy I got it all started but it never stops. We have to keep going."

PA

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