Now that's what you call a striker: Two-goal Rooney rewards Wembley fans with record
11 June 2009 01:18
Wayne Rooney equalled Gary Lineker's record of 10 England goals in a season as Andorra were comfortably dispatched and Fabio Capello's men made it seven wins out of seven in World Cup qualifying.
The striker, frustrated at being used out wide by Manchester United, was played through the middle by Capello last night and responded with his ninth and 10th goals.
Capello hailed it as a 'perfect performance' in front of a 57,897 crowd, who defied London's Tube strike to arrive at Wembley for the final game of a season which leaves England 10 points clear in Group Six.
The bearded Rooney was exceptional again, scoring twice before he was substituted at half-time. Substitute Jermain Defoe (two), FrankLampard and Peter Crouch completed the list of goalscorers.
Rooney has now equalled Lineker's record, set in 1991, as England close in on the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
Capello said: 'I told Rooney at half-time to have a good holiday and the same for Steven Gerrard.
'It was the perfect performance. We were very strong, created chances and whenever we play against a team like that, you have to start quickly, you have to press and win.
'In Andorra we didn't start well, but we have moved on and improved. We have created a group, a different style. Every time we play we improve.
'To have 57,000 people against Andorra is amazing. In Italy there are sometimes workers' strikes worse than this. When someone strikes it creates problems, but we are very happy.'
England will secure their place in next summer's World Cup finals if they beat Croatia in September at Wembley and Rooney is full of praise for the England chief.
'He has got us playing as a team,' said the striker.
'The disappointment of not getting to the Euros in 2008 is still very much in the players' minds, and the manager and his coaching staff coming in have been a big plus.
'We're playing more as a team and winning games. We've got one foot already in the World Cup finals. Hopefully we'll get there in our next game.'
Rooney not only equalled Lineker's feat, he also matched Geoff Hurst's England tally of 24 goals, albeit having played three more internationals (52).
Theo Walcott also did well and Capello insists he has no regrets about the Arsenal winger linking up with Stuart Pearce's Under 21 team for the championships in Sweden starting on Monday.
Capello added: 'We have spoken about this problem but Walcott is happy to go to the Under 21s. I understand Arsene Wenger's situation because he wants his player to start the season fresh with Arsenal.'