London, Sep 9 (IANS) Congratulating Wayne Rooney for becoming the highest scorer for England, former Manchester United manager David Moyes on Wednesday praised the star striker for his longetivity at the highest level.
Rooney converted a penalty in England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in their European Championship qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday evening to take his tally of international goals to 50 and overtake the legendary Bobby Charlton at the top of the English scoring charts.
It was one of the high points of Rooney’s international career which has spanned 12 years and 211 days since he made his first appearance for England as a 17-year-old against Australia in February, 2003.
“To be selected year on year for your country when there is always someone trying to take your position says a lot. He has held off all the challengers.
“It is very difficult to have more than 10 years at the top. Everyone wants to be a centre forward, everyone wants to score goals, so there will have been times when Wayne has come under threat,” Moyes was quoted as saying by the Daily Express on Wednesday.
“But for the last 12 years he has been the best England have had. It is not easy to do that. You have to be a good professional, you have to look after yourself and you have to want to improve all the time. And he’s not finished yet, is he?
“It is an incredible achievement because Sir Bobby is an icon and a great man, so to break his record says a lot about Wayne,” he added.
Moyes, who was manager at Everton FC when a 16-year-old Rooney made his debut in the English Premier League (EPL), said the Manchester United striker is one of the few world class players produced by England in recent years and the 29-year-old has to bear the burden unrealistic expectations when representing the country at major tournaments.
“England will feel they have not performed as well as they wanted at major tournaments and there has always been that focus on Wayne to make the difference in the same way that Messi is asked to do for Argentina and Neymar for Brazil.
“It is a little bit unfair because he is a very, very good player but he will have needed help and support as well as times. Maybe he hasn’t had that,” Moyes, who is currently in charge of Spanish club Real Sociedad, said.
“When he was a young player, he was all about raw talent. It was about natural ability and talent. As Wayne matured, he became more knowledgeable and his understanding of the game got better,” the Scotsman added.
“Now he is someone who is capable of playing in several positions and not look out of place. His biggest strength has always been his ability to score goals. He has a natural feel to put the ball in the back of the net.”