With qualifying matches for the European Championships of 2016 against San Marino tonight and Estonia on the 12th looming this week, England's captain Wayne Rooney must be hopeful of adding to his existing 41 goal tally for the national side. He would also move to a tantalising 99 caps for his nation should he feature in both games as seems likely, so looks poised to achieve the magical century that only eight other men have ever achieved for England. Indeed, the opportunity of closing in on the all time record of 49 goals by the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton must be an ever greater possibility, but Rooney seems honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the all time greats still above him on the goalscoring charts, judging by his comments to the British media in the build up to the games ahead.

First things first, under his leadership they must not only ensure no slip ups at Wembley against the minnows of San Marino (currently ranked equal bottom with Bhutan at 208 in the FIFA rankings) to back up their promising away win in Switzerland, but then move on to the trickier tie in Tallinn in Estonia and avoid any mistakes there.

Rooney must know though that good results against those two sides may be contingent on his contributing to the goals for column, and in doing so he may well see himself move up from 4th place on the all time list and edge past the great Jimmy Greaves haul of 44 goals (from only 57 caps). Gary Lineker's 48 goal total would then be next on Rooney's radar, although it would seem likely that he would have to wait a good while longer to surpass that.

He may well be mindful of his one time strike partner for England, Michael Owen, who also seemed destined to take the record before injuries and poor form finally curtailed his England appearances on a total of 40 goals for his country.

Rooney should at least be well rested for the challenges to come over the next few days, having been suspended for last weekend's home win for his club side Manchester United against Everton, following on from a red card in the West Ham game.

He will also miss Premier League matches against West Brom and Chelsea, so can focus his energies fully on the England games.

His likely partner up front for England in the absence of Daniel Sturridge would seem to be Danny Welbeck, especially against San Marino where Roy Hodgson would want to be attack minded to improve the goal difference of plus two that they currently enjoy at the head of the group.

Rooney could well become provider for Welbeck rather than main striker, but his deadball expertise from free kicks and penalties could well offer him additional opportunities to score, besides anything that falls his way from open play. He will also have fond memories of playing San Marino at Wembley, as the last time they visited the Twin Towers he scored twice.