Rooney hits winner as England maintain perfect Euro qualifying run
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Captain Wayne Rooney went within one goal of Bobby Charlton's England scoring record on Sunday by clinching a 3-2 victory over Slovenia in European Championship qualifying.
Rooney's 48th international goal - level with Gary Lineker's England haul - made it six wins out of six for the Group E leaders. Before Rooney moved closer to the scoring landmark, midfielder Jack Wilshere got his first two England goals in his 28th game.
The victory ensured England completed the season unbeaten for the first time in 24 years - 12 months after the team's worst-ever World Cup performance - and makes qualifying for Euro 2016 a near certainty. England surged nine points in front of Slovenia.
''It's great to score the winner and it was a great team performance,'' Rooney told British broadcaster ITV. ''We were unlucky to be 1-0 down and we spoke about that at half time and came out on the front foot.''
Milivoje Novakovic exploited England's sloppiness to give Slovenia a halftime lead, but Wilshere scored two slick long range strikes to put the visitors in front.
Although Nejc Pecnik headed in an 84th-minute leveler, Rooney pounced two minutes later after collecting a pass from substitute Theo Walcott to steal the limelight from Wilshere.
''Jack and myself have formed a good understanding on the pitch,'' Rooney said. ''Hopefully he stays injury free and he will be a top player in world football.''
The goals for Wilshere come at the end of another injury-blighted season for Arsenal where his off-field conduct has been criticized.
''It's nice to get a first couple of goals for England,'' the midfielder said. ''It's been a long time coming and I had chances in previous games.
''Usually in that area for Arsenal we play a bit more but the first one came, I hit it and it went in. I want to add more goals. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes - they all scored for England and I want that.''
Also in Group E, Estonia went fourth with a 2-0 win at last place San Marino. In a late game, third-place Switzerland plays Lithuania.
The top two teams are guaranteed a place at the finals in France, and most third-place teams will have to go through a playoff.