Wayne Rooney pens letter to Harry Kane after sealing England scoring record

Wayne Rooney has paid tribute to Harry Kane after the Tottenham striker climbed into first in England’s all-time top men’s goalscoring charts.

The two had been tied on 53 goals heading into Thursday’s 2-1 win over Italy but Kane moved clear onto 54 with a first-half penalty that ultimately sealed the win.

Rooney sent a brief message to Kane on social media after the game to congratulate him on his record but has now offered a lengthier tribute to the 29-year-old.

“When I broke the England goalscoring record, with a penalty against Switzerland in September 2015, Harry Kane was the first player to run over and celebrate with me. I later mentioned Harry in the speech I made in the dressing room,” Rooney wrote in The Times.

“I said that I hoped the young players in the squad would come close to the record themselves, and even be able to surpass me. Harry had scored only three England goals at that point — but I said those words because I knew he could do it. Even then, with only four caps under his belt, I knew he could become England’s greatest scorer if he kept going the way he was and I wanted to give him encouragement.

“I am delighted for him, for his family, and for the England team now he has done it, having scored his 54th England goal against Italy on Thursday night. Knowing Harry, it’s not something that will go to his head. He will kick on and, in fact, I believe that when he stops playing he will leave the England record in a place where it will be very difficult for someone else to break it.

“He wants to be like Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, a goal machine who is still at the very top in his mid-thirties, and he has it in him to make that happen. I think Harry will finish with an England goals total well into the seventies.”

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Rooney, who also compared Kane to Italian legend Francesco Totti for his creativity from the striker spot, later named the Spurs hitman as England’s best ever.

“Where does he stand among England strikers? He is probably the best. I think he is,” Rooney proclaimed. “I was not an out-and-out No 9, more a player who was halfway between a No 9 and a No 10, and if you look at the great England strikers — Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Jimmy Greaves, Michael Owen — Harry is as good a scorer as any of them and just as relentless, but unlike them he is not only a finisher.

“His all-round football qualities make him the best, and that is not just what he does in an England shirt, but at club level. He will break Shearer’s Premier League goals record if he stays fit.

“How do I feel now I’m no longer the record holder? Absolutely fine. I’m not really bothered about records and think it is crazy that, before I broke it, the England scoring record stood for so long, given all the talented forwards England had. I knew this day would come and that Harry would be the one.”

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