London, Sep 5 (IANS) Football legend Geoff Hurst reckons that striker Wayne Rooney may overtake Bobby Charlton as England’s highest goalscorer but the 1966 World Cup winner is his country’s greatest goalscorer as he was a midfielder.
The 29-year-old Rooney now needs just two more goals to overtake Charlton as England’s record scorer, and he has a great chance to do so in the Euro 2016 qualifier double header with San Marino and Switzerland.
“There is no doubt that he will finish his career as record goalscorer for Manchester United and for England. That definitely makes him an all-time great for club and country. There is no debate,” Hurst was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk on Friday.
“You can only judge players from their own era and he is such a gifted player even if it’s from a time when England haven’t been as successful,” Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in England’s finest hour when they lifted the World Cup 50 years ago next summer, added.
“Rooney is a front player, Bobby Charlton wasn’t. He scored those goals from midfield. When you think about that, it makes it all the more remarkable,” said Hurst.
However, Hurst said that the current captain is a team man to the core.
“But the beauty of Rooney is that he is a brilliant team player, he can play up front, wide left, drop behind and always gives 100 per cent. He can score spectacular goals, use his head and has got great technique. He’s got pace and works hard and makes good runs. He’s got everything,” the 73-year-old said.
Hurst scored the most famous hat-trick in England’s finest hour when they won the 1996 World Cup final against Germany 4-2 but his tally of 24 goals in 49 caps is short of the likes of Rooney, Charlton, Jimmy Greaves, Michael Owen and Gary Lineker.
But Rooney is often looked at as their poor relation purely because he has not played in a glorious era. Charlton was one of the heroes of 1966, Owen was a member of the golden generation and Lineker reached the semi-finals at the 1990 World Cup.
Rooney may end up being remembered as the headline act in a string of England failures.
“Rooney was also a star as a kid and he’s had so much to cope with through his career but he’s always stayed successful for Manchester United and kept on scoring for England. He always gives everything for his country. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“I know the FA are planning to mark the occasion and he has asked for Sir Bobby Charlton to make any presentation should he be record goalscorer.”