With Wayne Rooney having broken Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United goalscoring record in a 1-1 draw against Stoke, there’s never been a better time to compare the careers of two of United’s all-time greats.
The pair have enjoyed incredible respective careers for their club and for their national team, but who did it best?
England – major tournaments
Wayne Rooney: 3x quarter-finals, 2x last 16 and 1x group stage exit.
Bobby Charlton: 1x World Cup winner, 1x semi-final, 2x quarter-finals and 1x group stage exit.
Obviously Sir Bobby edges the contest here, with his 1966 World Cup winners’ medal putting him way out in front of Rooney. Charlton notched three goals in ’66, including a winning brace in the semi-final against Portugal.
But what might have been for Rooney, who could have moved some way towards parity at Euro 2004. The England striker scored four goals in a riveting group stage, before injuring himself in the quarter-final against Portugal.
Charlton scored four World Cup goals as well as a European Championship goal in the inaugural tournament, while Rooney has managed one World Cup goal and six Euro goals.
Rooney: 5x league titles, 1x FA Cup, 2x League Cup, 1x Champions League
Charlton: 3x league titles, 1x FA Cup, 1x European Cup
An area where Rooney perhaps beats Charlton, although Charlton can claim to have won the club’s first ever European Cup in 1968.
Wayne edges Sir Bobby on league titles and League Cups, with the pair both having won an FA Cup and a European title. Both also played for the greatest managers to have taken control of the club, a pair of brilliant Scotsmen: Sir Alex Ferguson and Matt Busby.
The signing of Rooney, however, led to a more sustained period of success for United, who dominated English football with five league titles and two League Cups in seven years.
We’ll be using the Twitter barometer for this one, and we start with Bobby, who joined the Twitter-sphere last summer, and opened with one of the greatest first tweets of all time.
It’s fifty years today since I helped @England win the World Cup, but it seems like just yesterday. Thank you to my friends and supporters.
— Sir Bobby Charlton (@SirBobby) July 30, 2016
Charlton tweets with class, and never seems to leave a space between the @ and the subject – a common mistake among Twitter beginners.
Every year I look forward to @ManUtd’s first appearance in the FA Cup, the greatest knockout tournament in the world.
— Sir Bobby Charlton (@SirBobby) January 6, 2017
This is what Twitter would have looked like 50 years ago.
It has been a wonderful day, and wonderful to receive so many birthday messages. Thank you.
— Sir Bobby Charlton (@SirBobby) October 11, 2016
Rooney meanwhile used to be a bit of a liability on Twitter, with this being one of the milder tweets from his early days on the site.
At safari park yesterday with kai. A nonkey has stole my back window wiper. Cheeky monkey.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) March 6, 2012
These days, however, Wazza appears to have taken a leaf out of Charlton’s book.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) January 7, 2017
The closer he got to Charlton’s record, the classier he became.
Both have done some great ad work, there’s no question of that.
Charlton did a pretty good Actimel commercial a few years back, but it’s this world-class effort that had us hooked.
Rooney meanwhile is one of the most marketable footballers on the planet, and as such has been involved in a range of great ads, such as this one with Nike.
However, there is a fairly sizeable blot on Rooney’s commercial copybook, and it’s this.
An outrageous display of acting, made worse by the fact that Rooney is one of the better ones.
Wayne Rooney: 31/40
Bobby Charlton: 35/40
You might have the goal-scoring records Wayne, but you’ve plenty to learn from the master yet.