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Rooney can beat Becks says Terry

sports Updated: Mar 29, 2009 07:51 IST

AFP
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England captain John Terry believes Wayne Rooney has the potential to overtake even David Beckham to become England's record caps holder if he continues his current rate of progress.

Rooney has enjoyed a remarkable improvement at international level under England manager Fabio Capello, scoring five goals in their World Cup qualifying campaign already and hitting the net twice in a 4-0 friendly victory over Slovakia on Saturday.

It takes the Manchester United striker's tally to seven goals in his last four international games. And Terry finds it hard to believe that Rooney, at the age of just 23, will earn his 50th cap if he plays against the Ukraine in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

"His potential is frightening," said Terry, who himself reached 50 caps against Slovakia on the same day that David Beckham set a new record of 109 caps for an England outfield player.

"We were speaking about Becks and my 50th cap on the way to the match and I was saying to Wayne he could possibly get to 150! It's a reachable target - and certainly 100 is.

"He's probably missed 20 games through injuries and suspensions and things already. But he's very young, very talented and one of the best in the world that's for sure."

Rooney's goals against Slovakia took his tally to 21 for England so far, meaning even Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 49 may not be out of reach if he is able to stay fit over the coming decade.

"That's true, his goals are there as well," Terry said. "And his link-up play, you saw the one-two Frank Lampard played with him against Slovakia.

"With Wayne's vision he can pick people out and he's always a threat from inside and outside the box, that's the threat he poses to any team.

"I think we're seeing Wayne mature. There's been a lot of talk all week about his discipline but I've certainly seen him mature and grow up - on and off the pitch.

"As I've said before, just let Wayne Rooney play football. That's what he's best at. He's one of the best in the world."

Terry, too, had reason to enjoy England's comfortable victory over Slovakia, which also included goals from Lampard and Emile Heskey.

"I'm very proud of reaching 50 caps," he said. "Maybe it was overshadowed a little bit! But I don't mind that. It's a great achievement for me.

"When you first come in the squad you aim to get to 50 and now I'm there I can hopefully kick on and get many more.

"Now I really want to push on for 100 and that means staying fit for Chelsea and playing as many games as possible for my country."

More than just the landmark appearances, however, England's performance against Slovakia gives them plenty of hope for a World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine which could leave them with one foot in the finals - they already sit top of Group Six with a 100 per cent record.

Terry said: "We started very well and were unlucky not to be two or three up. After that the goals came, the performance was there. But it's important we get the same again on Wednesday.

"We feel it's slowly progressing under this manager. We tested ourselves against Spain last month and were disappointed. We looked at them and said 'that's where we want to be', especially looking at their movement - which I think we had here.

"But now we have to think about the Ukraine. We look at the game again now and see where we can improve, because we're always looking to improve, and hopefully pick up the three points on Wednesday. It's a game that's going to be very tough."

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