San Marino keeper Aldo Simoncini determined to make Wayne Rooney wait for England record

Wayne Rooney England friendly

The Manchester United striker is just one goal shy of Bobby Charlton's record haul for England, and could re-write the history books on Saturday.

Aldo Simoncini has one of the most thankless tasks in football – he is the goalkeeper for European whipping boys San Marino.

He is, however, a proud man and has been telling 888sport.com of his desire to avoid being on the wrong end of a history-making performance against England this weekend.

San Marino are due to play host to the Three Lions on Saturday – a contest which will see Wayne Rooney fall under the microscope in his quest to become his country’s all-time leading goalscorer.

The Manchester United striker currently stands on 48 efforts for England, in 105 appearances, one shy of Bobby Charlton’s landmark tally.

A brace or better in his next appearance would see him set a new benchmark – one he will expect to build upon considerably over the coming years at just 29 years of age.

Simoncini is well aware – having been beaten 19 times already in Euro 2016 qualification – that he is for another busy 90 minutes against Roy Hodgson’s side, but there is a determination on his part to make Rooney wait for his groundbreaking achievement.

He told 888sport.com, in an interview you can check out in full here: “I didn’t know about the record, but now that I do, it’s extra motivation for me.

“I see it as a personal challenge and it will be difficult, but it’s just another challenge. Rooney will reach it, because he’s a great player. I just hope it’s in the game after they face us.”

Simoncini has conceded 18 times in his previous three meetings with England – an average of six per game – and acknowledges that it will be difficult to keep the score down against a side yet to drop a point in their Group E campaign.

He also admits that the threat posed by England will come from all angles, with it not just the firepower and record-breaking exploits of Rooney that San Marino have to concern themselves with.

The 26-year-old added: “When I play against teams like England, I don’t just fear their strikers, I even fear their defenders!

“People who are used to defending, against us, become attackers, because everyone attacks us! Whoever I have in front of me; if it’s Rooney or whoever, it will be very difficult.”

England’s passage to France 2016 is likely to be secured this weekend, or all-but secured, with their superior goal difference expected to be extended.

Qualification with three games to spare will be some achievement, even when taking into account the quality of the opposition, and a record for Rooney would add the icing on the cake for a nation striving to build and maintain momentum heading into next summer.

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