Wayne Rooney never considered himself a natural goalscorer, but Manchester United and England’s record-breaking striker believes he should have netted even more.
Having burst onto the scene with Everton so astonishingly at 16, the forward earned a big-money move to Old Trafford in 2004 and went onto score 253 goals in 559 appearances during a medal-laden spell there.
Rooney usurped Sir Bobby Charlton as United’s all-time top scorer, just as he did in the England record books having netted 53 across 120 caps – not that he really considers himself to be a sharpshooter.
“I’m going to be honest — and this might surprise you — but I’m not a natural goalscorer,” the 34-year-old wrote in his Sunday Times column.
“I was never a Gary Lineker or a Ruud van Nistelrooy; I never looked at myself that way.
“I hold the goal records for Manchester United and England and am very proud about that — yet there have been better No 9s than me.”
Rooney believes Harry Kane is the closest he has seen to Van Nistelrooy and said “if I were building a team, he’s the one I’d start with”.
The Derby player-coach said he would be telling the striker “to stay high as that No 9” after seeing him drop deeper in the last two seasons and backed the Tottenham star to soon supplant him in the England charts.
“How did I become a record-breaker if I wasn’t a natural scorer? Time,” Rooney said. “I played for United for 13 years, England for 15 years. I had time to break those records – and looking back I should have scored more.
“I don’t think it will take long for Harry Kane to claim my England record and it would be a proud moment for me.
“I’ve never been a selfish player and it would be great for England for Harry to get there. Bobby Charlton had to wait 50 years — I hope it’s not so long for me.
“The United record might last longer simply because players don’t stay at clubs as long as they used to.
“Mind you, if Messi or Ronaldo came to Old Trafford for a swansong they’d probably break it in three or four years.”