England and Manchester United record goalscorer Wayne Rooney says that, despite his incredible goal record, he was not a natural goalscorer.
Speaking in his column for the Sunday Times, the Derby County player-coach opened up about his career and his playing style.
“This might surprise you, but I’m not a natural goalscorer,” wrote Rooney.
“I was never a Gary Lineker or a Ruud van Nistelrooy.”
While he holds the goalscoring records for both England and Manchester United, Rooney believes he should have scored more goals during his career.
“I hold the goal records for Manchester United and England and I’m very proud about that – yet there have been better number nines than me,” he added.
“How did I become a record-breaker if I wasn’t a natural scorer? Time.
“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.”
The ever-modest Premier League legend went on to talk about that England record, and mentioned that he thinks a certain Tottenham Hotspur striker will beat his total.
“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,” he added.
“If I were building a team, he is the one I’d start with.
“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 Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo came to Old Trafford for a swansong they would probably break it in three or four years.”
While it’s refreshing to see such modesty from a legend of the game, I do think Rooney under-values himself. He was not just a great goalscorer, he was a scorer of great goals too.
Without him, the Manchester United dynasty under Sir Alex Ferguson certainly wouldn’t have been as fruitful in the late noughties.
He’s one of the best strikers this country has ever produced, and it seems a shame that he doesn’t see it that way.