Analysis

Wayne Rooney vs Bobby Charlton: who's got the best England scoring record?

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Conclusion

Both records are incredibly strong, with Sir Bobby's goalscoring presence in friendly fixtures, plus his four World Cup goals, giving him the slight edge in goals-per-game and minutes-per-goal ratios. Still, Rooney has played considerably fewer minutes during his career so far – 8,085 compared to Sir Bobby's 9,435. The difference of 1,350 adds up to 15 matches.

Rooney has broken the 50 mark before the year's end. But what of Sir Bobby and the implications of his broken record? Well, he seems pretty happy with the toppling, too.

"He is really keen to break my record, which seems to have stood for a long time," he said, speaking last year. "I’ve told him not to worry too much. He has my backing. I’ll be quite happy when it comes. I told him: 'Think hard about it and maybe you’ll have some good news.' I’ve had good news from it all my life. I don’t mind him taking it.

"It would a great achievement – and it would be a change for me. That’s good. He’s a good lad and I don’t mind it at all."

There's a caveat to all this, of course. "What we have to do now is make sure that he wins," said Sir Bobby. "[England] need to start winning. It is all very well having these accolades that people push to you, but you have to make sure you get something out of it."

Rooney himself would agree his World Cup performances haven't lived up to high expectations. Charlton, meanwhile, has scored goals in tournaments where England have faced impressive opposition. He also got that all-important winner's medal; during 1966 he scored goals of phenomenal importance that will be forever etched in the history books. That is surely what Rooney wants more than any mathematical record.

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