MICHAEL HEALY re­flects on the goalscor­ing feats of two of Eng­land’s great­est strik­ers

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - ENGLAND -

FOR this sum­mer any­way, Gary Lineker and Wayne Rooney are tied on 48 Eng­land goals in equal sec­ond place,one be­hind Bobby Charl­ton, in the all-time Eng­land scor­ers’ list.

Rooney looks cer­tain to score more soon, es­pe­cially with the likes of San Marino to come later in the year. Charl­ton has held the record for nearly 50 years and has a very sim­i­lar record to Rooney – 49 goals in 106 games as op­posed to 48 in 105. Might Rooney be ca­pa­ble of hold­ing the record for a sim­i­lar time?

Un­less some­thing dra­matic hap­pens, he seems des­tined to smash the record and make a very hard to­tal to beat for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. As of this mo­ment, while Lineker and Rooney are tied, it seems a good time to have a look at their Eng­land goal to­tals.

How do they com­pare and con­trast? Lineker first played for Eng­land as a 23-year- old Le­ices­ter City player in May 1984 when he came on as a sub­sti­tute for scorer Tony Woodcock in a 1-1 away draw with Scot­land.

Rooney’s de­but came in Fe­bru­ary 2003 as a 17-year-old in a 3-1 home de­feat to Aus­tralia, just four months af­ter his league de­but, when he came on as a half-time sub. In fact, the whole team was re­placed at half-time in this friendly match.

Lineker scored his first in a 2-1 home win against the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land in March1985, his sec­ond game but first start,while, per­haps sur­pris­ingly, Rooney had to wait un­til his sixth in­ter­na­tional,a 2-1 away win ver­sus Mace­do­nia, to score his first goal.

Lineker had an eight-year Eng­land ca­reer, play­ing his fi­nal game in June 1992 when he was con­tro­ver­sially subbed by man­ager Graham Tay­lor against Swe­den in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, and amassed a to­tal of 80 games (74 starts and 6 sub ap­pear­ances).

At the mo­ment, Rooney has been an in­ter­na­tional for more than 12 years and has played 105 times now for his coun­try (99 starts and 6 sub ap­pear­ances) with his latest ap­pear­ance and goal com­ing v Slove­nia in June.

While he looks cer­tain to smash through the goalscor­ing record, it would be no sur­prise if he does the same to the ap­pear­ance record. At only 29, he surely has a few years to over­take Peter Shilton’s record of 125 and make that a very hard tar­get to beat also.

Back in 1992 it looked likely that Lineker would go on to be the record holder but he failed to score in his last six games, in­clud­ing a fa­mous penalty miss against Brazil.

Lineker scored his goals in 25 fewer games but he al­ways played as a cen­tre-for­ward whereas Rooney has had to play a fair num­ber of games in mid­field or out wide.

Both play­ers’ to­tals in­clude four penal­ties as well as be­ing in­volved in high pres­sure penalty shoot-outs.

Lineker was also the man for a hat- trick. Be­tween 1985 and 1991, he scored three or more on five oc­ca­sions. In this time, no other player scored a hat-trick for Eng­land. That was 17 goals in those five games – more than a third of his to­tal. He was cer­tainly some­one to pun­ish a weak de­fence and be to­tally ruth­less when on top form.

He net­ted four v Malaysia in 1991, four v Spain in 1987, two hat-tricks v Tur­key in 1985 and 1987, and his re­ally im­por­tant tre­ble v

Top of the pile: Bobby Charl­ton

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