Priced up at just 13/20 to net the two goals necessary to become England’s all-time leading scorer, it’s widely considered a formality Wayne Rooney will top Sir Bobby Charlton’s record against San Marino.
Yet there’s every chance he may be forced to wait at least one match more to supersede a mark that proved beyond both Gary Lineker and Michael Owen.
Rooney, 21/20 not to set a new all-time England mark in the fixture, currently finds himself amidst a 12-game domestic goal drought, but that’s could hardly be the reason.
After all, he has traditionally found oases in Three Lions white amidst such barren spells, having struck in 11 of his last dozen international qualifiers.
Then there’s the hat-trick he stuffed past Club Brugge in Manchester United’s recent Champions League play-off round victory to prove he has no trouble punishing more prosaic opposition.
Instead Rooney and England’s past meetings with San Marino are the runes that suggest Sir Bobby’s record may not yet pass into the Rooney’s hands in Serravalle.
As shown in our recent all encompassing ‘San Marino – a graphical anatomy of Europe’s ultimate minnows’ infographic England are far from the microscopic states most merciless opponents.
The 6.2 goals they have averaged across five past meetings with the Sammarinese put them well behind the likes of Germany (9.5 goals per match) and Ukraine (8.5) and even Israel (6.5) in the fill-your-boots stakes.
Moreover three of those clashes have come under Roy Hodgson’s tenure, where their average drops further to 6.0 thanks to two 5-0 wins in the last three years.
During that period Rooney has swollen his England tally by a four-goal margin that seems very restrained when it’s considered Lukas Poldolski and former Bolton and Poland man Ebi Smolarek helped themselves to as many in single past meetings.
What’s more only half those goals came from open play, with the captain the beneficiary of a brace of penalties, both of which came on home soil.