MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 13:14:45

Where Wayne Rooney ranks among England's greatest goalscorers

Sports Mole looks at England's top five scorers, as Wayne Rooney moves level with Bobby Charlton's record of 49 goals.

A routine 6-0 win for England against San Marino is not usually the cause for celebration, but it proved to be a memorable encounter for Wayne Rooney, who equalled Bobby Charlton's long-standing record as the nation's top goalscorer.

With Rooney on the verge of having the record all to himself after next week's match against Switzerland, Sports Mole takes a look at the five highest scorers in England's history


Wayne Rooney: 49 goals, 106 caps

The England and Manchester United captain has been closing in on his country's goalscoring record in recent months and he finally matched Charlton's tally after his early penalty in Serravalle. His chances of adding any more goals were ended after being taken off shortly before the hour mark, but with Switzerland to face at Wembley next Tuesday, he will be up for the task of making history on home soil.

Despite his achievements, there are many who feel that he has not fulfilled his potential since bursting onto the scene with Everton 13 years ago. He came to international prominence with his displays at Euro 2004, but since then he has struggled to perform at major tournaments, and only scored his first ever World Cup goal in Brazil last summer. He will be desperate to stamp his mark on next year's European Championship, as it could represent his last chance of success with England.

Wayne Rooney of England celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between San Marino and England at Stadio Olimpico on September 5, 2015© Getty Images


Bobby Charlton: 49 goals, 106 caps

Charlton had been England's sole leading scorer for 47 years before Rooney joined him at the top of the list. The former Manchester United midfielder is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and he played an integral role in helping the country to their World Cup victory in 1966. He scored three goals during the tournament, and memorably netted a crucial double as the Three Lions beat Portugal 2-1 in their semi-final.

He won the Ballon d'Or in the same season and two years later he captained United to success in the European Cup, scoring twice as the Red Devils won 4-1 in the final against Benfica. Charlton's final appearance for England came in the 1970 World Cup, where Alf Ramsey's side crashed out in the quarter-finals after a 3-2 defeat to West Germany. He had been substituted in that match with England in the lead, and on the flight home from Mexico he brought an end to his international career at the age of 32.

Bobby Charlton takes a corner for Manchester United on January 01, 1971.© Getty Images


Gary Lineker: 48 goals, 80 caps

Had it not been for a missed penalty in a friendly against Brazil, then Gary Lineker would be sitting alongside Rooney and Charlton as the nation's leading scorer. However, his attempt at a chip failed as Carlos Roberto Gallo dived to keep out the strike. It would have crowned an impressive eight-year spell with the national team that saw him score three or more goals in a match on five separate occasions.

Lineker saved some of his best performances for the major international tournaments and in the 1986 World Cup he became the first Englishman to win the Golden Boot after scoring six goals. Four years later at the next World Cup he struck four times as Bobby Robson's side reached the semi-finals. One of those goals came in their last-four clash with West Germany, as he scored a late equaliser to send the game to extra time, before the Germans triumphed on spot kicks.

England striker Gary Lineker shoots for goal against Poland on June 11, 1986.© Getty Images


Jimmy Greaves: 44 goals, 57 caps

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker was England's record scorer until Charlton overtook him in the rankings, but he does have a better goals per game ratio than the three men above him. He also scored more hat-tricks for his country than any other player and is the highest goalscorer in the history of the English top-flight.

Due to his fine goalscoring form, he started the 1966 World Cup as England's first choice striker and played in each of their group matches. However, during the final group match against France, a tackle from Joseph Bonnel left him needing stitches on his shin and he was replaced by Geoff Hurst for the quarter-final win over Argentina.

Despite returning to full fitness, Ramsey decided against changing the team, leaving Jimmy Greaves on the bench for the final against Germany as Hurst scored his career-defining hat-trick. As substitutes were not permitted, only the 11 players on the pitch received medals, but Greaves and his World Cup winning teammates were finally presented with medals at a ceremony in 2009.

Jimmy Greaves smiles after collecting his medal presented by Prime Minister Gordon Brown for representing his country in the 1966 World Cup at Downing Street on June 10, 2009© Getty Images


Michael Owen: 40 goals, 89 caps

There are many who believe that if Michael Owen had not picked up so many injuries throughout his career, then he would have scored far more goals than the 40 he managed for his country. He did play in five international tournaments, and is the only English player to have scored in four major international championships.

It was during his first tournament at the 1998 World Cup where he made his mark on the international stage with a stunning solo goal against Argentina in the quarter-finals. The match finished in a 2-2 draw, with England going out on penalties, but Owen's performances made him a household name.

Three years later during a World Cup qualifier against Germany, he scored a memorable hat-trick as England recorded a historic 5-1 victory. However, his last appearance at a major finals ended in disappointment, and he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in a group stage match at the 2006 World Cup against Sweden that ruled him out for a number of months. He would play again for England in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, with his final appearance coming in a friendly defeat against France in March 2008.

England striker Michael Owen starts his run against Argentina that ends in a goal on June 30, 1998.© Getty Images

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 Manager Roy Hodgson of England looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014
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