• Premier League

Rooney can stay at top for years, says Hodgson

ESPN staff
February 24, 2014
Rooney helped United return to winning ways

Wayne Rooney can compete at the highest level of world football for at least six more years, according to Roy Hodgson.

The England manager has backed his star striker to continue to shine and replace Steven Gerrard as the team's captain.

But he wants Rooney to beat Sir Bobby Charlton's national goalscoring record on the way.

Rooney, 28, is on 38 goals, 11 behind Charlton's total, and Hodgson said: "He's a massive football man. He lives for football. Football is his life.

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"There are plenty of other players we have at the moment who are 33, 34 and are still going strong, still doing good jobs for their club and country, so why not Wayne?

"I'm sure we will talk about it [the record]. We'll be together for a longer period of time [at the World Cup], and that kind of thing might crop up in an everyday conversation. It's quite good to have that.

"Wayne is a future captain of England because we are losing some of the famous players of the past who have served England so well.

"When the day comes for Steven Gerrard to hang up his boots, Wayne will be straight in there, I'm sure."

Hodgson revealed he has contacted Rooney to congratulate him on his new five-and-a-half-year contract with United and believes having settled his future could work in England's favour.

The manager said: "I'm very pleased for him, for United and for us. I've got every faith that he would have come to the World Cup with England and been focused whatever the situation.

"But I can't deny that it's tremendous that, so early in the season, he's signed a new contract and committed his long-term future.

"He's probably going to be a two-club man, and most of that will be at Manchester United. It is an advantage, no doubt, and I'm pleased for everyone concerned.''

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