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Sir Geoff Hurst: 'Wayne Rooney is a true great'

England legend Sir Geoff Hurst hails Wayne Rooney as a "true great", but believes that Sir Bobby Charlton was the better player.

England legend Sir Geoff Hurst has hailed Wayne Rooney as a "true great" ahead of the Three Lions' Euro 2016 qualifiers with San Marino and Switzerland.

Rooney has been the subject of criticism for his recent lack of Premier League goals for Manchester United, but the 29-year-old is expected to surpass Sir Bobby Charlton as England's leading goalscorer in the upcoming international double-header.

The skipper is currently on 48 goals for his country, one short of Charlton's record, but Hurst believes that his fellow 1966 World Cup winner just edges the contest as a player.

"Rooney is a true great. I'd have the same issue when I was playing for England or West Ham where I'd have a patch not scoring - but everybody didn't harp on about it. Figure-wise, of course, if he goes above [Charlton's 49 goals] it's a great achievement, no question at all," he told reporters.

"The only thing I would say is if you're making comparisons, Wayne is a front player, whereas Bobby Charlton scored 49 goals as a midfield player. It just shows you the astonishing ability of Sir Robert Charlton. There is a little way to go, when you make comparisons as players.

"It's not only their ability, it's what they achieved in the game, and of course Bobby Charlton was the member of a World-Cup winning team, which Wayne's not yet. There's that differential there, which I would always argue. But his is a great achievement. [Rooney is] a terrific player, with or without the number of goals he's scored. His performances at Man United and England have been terrific over the years."

Rooney will also match Charlton's tally of 106 international caps if he is chosen against San Marino on Saturday.

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Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 28, 2014
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