July 22, 2017

Rooney equals Charlton’s goal record


Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United scoring record as the FA Cup holders cruised into round four with a 4-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

Rooney scored his 249th United goal in the seventh minute at Old Trafford, prompting applause from the watching Charlton, before an Anthony Martial goal and a Marcus Rashford brace completed victory.

Third-tier Millwall pulled off the biggest shock of the day by beating top-flight Bournemouth 3-0 at The Den, while Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion both fell to second-tier Championship opposition.

“It’s a proud moment, to do it at a massive club like Manchester United,” Rooney, 31, told BT Sport after matching Charlton’s mark on his 543rd United appearance.

“I’m hugely honoured to play for this club. To be up there with Sir Bobby in terms of goals is a huge honour. Hopefully I’ll be up there on my own soon.”

It was to prove a sorry return to Old Trafford for Reading manager Jaap Stam, the former United centre-back.

Making his first appearance since December 17, Rooney broke the deadlock when he used his right knee to steer Juan Mata’s dinked cross past Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Rooney created United’s second goal in the 15th minute by playing a one-two with Martial, who stroked a cool effort into the bottom-right corner.

Rashford made the game safe late on, running onto Michael Carrick’s pass to score and then pouncing to lash home after Al Habsi embarrassed himself by completely miscuing an attempted clearance.

Rooney has now surpassed Charlton, 79, as the leading scorer for both United and England.

United, meanwhile, have won eight successive games in all competitions for the first time since 2009.

“I am happy because it was a professional job from minute one,” said United manager Jose Mourinho, whose side host Hull City in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday.

“Bobby Charlton is Bobby Charlton, but to have Wayne as the top scorer in such a big club is great for him.”