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Wayne Rooney breaks Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goalscoring record



For once there was a feel-good factor around Wembley, a real buzz about the national team again after Wayne Rooney kept good on his promise to score his historic 50th goal for the country.

To a man, the players raced after their leader, celebrating with the England captain after he hit his 84th-minute penalty hard and true, easily beating Switzerland keeper Yann Sommer.

Rooney was never going to miss, not on home soil, not with David Beckham rising from his seat in his executive box to watch the Manchester United striker reach his half century.

Everyone responded, with Roy Hodgson heading out towards the edge of his technical area to salute this record-busting forward for eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record.

Wayne Rooney celebrates becoming England’s all-time leading scorer after lashing home a penalty for the 50th goal in an England shirt

Team-mates applaud their captain in the dressing room after Rooney broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record

Rooney addresses his England team-mates following the game with England continuing their perfect start in Group E

Rooney looks to the skies as Harry Kane and Ross Barkley rush to congratulate England’s all-time top scorer

Ultimately it was a good night to be an England fan, especially after Harry Kane helped Hodgson’s team secure an eighth successive victory in this qualification campaign.

When Kane reported for England duty last week, the Tottenham forward’s first act was to fend off accusations that he was a one season wonder.

Four games without a goal for Tottenham and that’s what this country has a habit of doing to people. Kane insisted there was no cause for alarm.

Seven days on and he added to his super-sub reputation, scoring the opener against Switzerland by finishing off a well-worked move with a sweet left-foot shot from the edge of the area.

Crisis, what crisis? He will return to his club on Wednesday refreshed, invigorated after scoring in the 6-0 victory against San Marino and netting the winner just minutes after coming on as a substitute against Switzerland.

Between now and the Euro finals in France next summer, Hodgson’s job is to make sure these players do not plod their way through the remaining group games and a few high-profile friendlies.

There is room for experimentation, as there was with the inclusion of Jonjo Shelvey and Fabian Delph alongside James Milner in England’s midfield engine room.

So what of the five-yard furies — as Hodgson calls them — the pace setters on the flanks who the manager will turn to when this team arrives in France for the finals next summer?

Raheem Sterling is a clever so-and-so, given a roving role down the left for England after his return to the team. He is a big part of the future.

The Manchester City flyer is a bundle of energy, hovering on the ball and waiting for left back Luke Shaw to join him in England’s attacks. In time, they can make a fine partnership.

Shaw is flourishing this season, feeling his way into the Manchester United team after a difficult first year at Old Trafford and earning another chance with England.

Shaqiri poses with England players prior to kick-off and the Stoke City midfielder gave a fine account for himself at Wembley

At times he is quite an attacking threat, bombing down the left and providing the clever cut backs or the crosses from the byline into the path of England’s forwards.

He found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with one — feeding England’s right winger with a chipped ball that went over the bar with a flick from the outside of his right boot.

Then he was behind the sweetest move of the first half, a sharp, incisive drive that started with Shaw’s pass into the feet of substitute Ross Barkley. One spin later and Rooney was in down the left channel, but the England forward steered his effort wide of Sommer’s far post.

This threatened to be the Switzerland keeper’s night, one of those memorable performances at one of the world’s most iconic sporting stadiums.

He did well to stop Rooney scoring the record-breaking goal when he read Gary Cahill’s header as it was about to fall at the feet of the England forward.

When Rooney turned creator, putting Milner in the clear, the Switzerland keeper did well to stop him putting England in front.

With his faultless start to the season, Joe Hart is close to being routinely named in the same company as Manuel Neuer, David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. His good form continued here.

The Manchester City goalkeeper, four-time winner of the Barclays Premier League golden glove, had not conceded a goal in the opening five games of the season for club and country.

He was a spectator for the opening half-hour here and yet he was alert enough to rush off his line and bravely spread his body in front of the onrushing Xherdan Shaqiri when he went clean through.

It was an outstanding save, the kind that could be regarded as a life saver for this England team during the knockout phase of tournament football.

There was another decent stop ten minutes into the second half, reading Valon Behrami’s near-post run to prevent the Watford midfielder scoring from a corner. After that the call came for Kane, who replaced the ineffective Shelvey.

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