Wayne Rooney: San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini drawing 'extra motivation' in trying to stop England captain earning record

Rooney needs two goals to pass Sir Bobby Charlton

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The Independent Online

England captain Wayne Rooney could become the nation's record goalscorer on Saturday.

Rooney, 29, needs just two goals to beat Sir Bobby Charlton's tally of 49 goals and faces lowly San Marino next - the Manchester United captain has four in his previous three against the minnows.

But one man standing in his way, the Sammarinese goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini, says he has been given "extra motivation" after finding out that Rooney might break the record against his team.

"I didn’t know about the record, but now that I do, it’s extra motivation for me," Simoncini told 888sport.com. "I see it as a personal challenge and it will be difficult, but it’s just another challenge. Rooney will reach it, because he’s a great player. I just hope it’s in the game after they face us."

If England win and other results go their way, Roy Hodgson's team will qualify for Euro 2016. San Marino have not won any of their previous 118 official games, drawing only three, and have conceded 531 goals in that time.

But Simoncini says the England team always treat the part-timers with respect.

Rooney.jpg
Rooney has scored four goals in three games against San Marino

"We’ve faced England three times now and they have always acted like gentlemen with us," added Simoncini. "Even though we’re a small nation, they’ve always shown us respect. I have a lot of respect for the English players because they’ve always been gentlemen with us, and I really appreciate that.

"They know we go out to try to honour the shirt and the country. Other countries have treated us like we don’t deserve to be there, but never England.

"When I play against teams like England, I don’t just fear their strikers, I even fear their defenders!” he revealed. “People who are used to defending, against us, become attackers, because everyone attacks us! Whoever I have in front of me; if it’s Rooney or whoever, it will be very difficult."

Simoncini continued: "The result is the last thing I think about. When I go out onto the pitch, I concentrate on doing the best I possibly can. Basically, the best we can hope for is not getting hammered."

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