Hungry Rooney rues missed England caps
England striker Wayne Rooney has admitted he is disappointed not to have hit the 50-cap mark already.
Rooney will win his 47th England cap on Saturday in the World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan. As he has not yet celebrated his 23rd birthday, it is a remarkable achievement and could mean he will become the youngest player to reach the half-century mark in a yet-to-be-confirmed friendly in February.
Yet the Manchester United man feels he should have had more. Injury and suspension have cost a few appearances, as did the failure to reach Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren.
So, in a sense, Rooney will run out at Wembley on Saturday feeling he has to make up for lost time.
"I am quite disappointed with my caps total," he said.
"I have missed games through suspension and injury when, if all had gone well, I might have had 60.
"I definitely feel I should have more than my current total."
Not that Rooney is too interested in personal accolades.
He could not exactly be described as content in the background as Cristiano Ronaldo starts to pick up his various world player of the year awards. But given the choice of individual honours or team achievement, Rooney would choose the latter every time.
"It is right people like Cristiano and Lionel Messi should be up for these awards and hopefully I can get there one day," said Rooney.
"If I keep working and keep progressing, I would like to think I could at any rate. But it is not about me, it is about the team.
"I would rather win a trophy with the team than anything personal. I have always felt like that."
With skipper John Terry almost certainly ruled out by a back injury and his Chelsea colleague Joe Cole also missing with a foot problem, England coach Fabio Capello will be forced to make at least two changes to the side that stunned Croatia in Zagreb last month.
The contributions of hat-trick hero Theo Walcott and Emile Heskey have both been highlighted as major reasons behind the win.
But one of Rooney's best performances for England should not be underestimated either.
And there could be more to come as Dimitar Berbatov's arrival at Old Trafford begins to have an effect.
"More than anything I like to play just off a front man," he said.
"It is probably because I get on the ball more because I don't like to be out of the game too long.
"Some centre-forwards can stay up front, not touch the ball and just look to score goals. I don't really enjoy doing that. I like to be involved in the game.
"Mainly at United I have been used in different roles but maybe the fact Dimitar has arrived will bring some continuity to my game because it is the same type of thing I am used to with England.
"But also the mere fact he is at Old Trafford should take me onto a different level. I am not guaranteed my place in the side anymore."