Wayne Rooney admitted to being nervous as he took his “magical” record-breaking penalty at Wembley Stadium.
The England skipper’s 84th-minute spot-kick secured victory over Switzerland and top spot in Group E, but more notably took him to 50 goals for his country, finally surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record.
And an emotional Rooney said he was delighted to be able to share the moment with his England team-mates as well as the fans who came to see England continue their 100 per cent run in Euro 2016 qualifying.
“It’s a special moment for me in my career and I’m honoured and proud to be the leading goalscorer for England,” he said after the game.
“I’ve scored 50 goals, and it was a magical moment, especially here at Wembley. It’s a night I’ll never forget.
“I knew it was such a big moment for me and it was great to get the goal. I can move on from that. I’ve had to do a lot of press over the last few days for England about the goalscoring record, so I can now put that behind me and try and help the team be successful.”
Rooney was asked if the 100-goal landmark was his next objective: “I’m not sure that will come!” he laughed. “I’ll enjoy tonight, it’s a great honour to be the highest goalscorer in the country and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to do it.”
When Raheem Sterling was tripped inside the box with just over five minutes left against Switzerland and the referee pointed to the spot, there was a collective gasp around Wembley before Rooney stepped up to take the penalty.
As he readied himself to make history, flashlights warmed up everywhere among the 75,000 crowd as fans waited to capture the moment for themselves.
And, despite his team having already qualified for Euro 2016 and the match virtually won, Rooney admitted it was one of the most pressured kicks he has ever taken.
“From the moment the penalty was given you could feel the anticipation with the fans, with my team-mates, and that’s why I was so nervous,” he said.
“I was very nervous before taking it. I knew which corner I was going with the penalty and I just thought to myself ‘put my foot through the ball’.
“If the keeper saves it, it will have to be a good save, thankfully it had enough power on it to go in.
“It was a huge moment. As it went in it was great to celebrate with my team-mates all coming around congratulating me and, of course, in front of the England fans at Wembley.”
There is certainly more to come from 29-year-old Rooney, who earlier in the week had said he feels he will be able to play on for his country until at least 2018.
But with Harry Kane making a name for himself in the senior squad having bagged the opener against the Swiss – his third in four appearances for Hodgson’s side – the skipper will be looking over his shoulder at someone who could one day challenge his record.
“He’s a fantastic player and I’m really happy he got the goal,” said Rooney.
“He’s come under a little bit of criticism at the start of the season, which is undeserved, as a young player, we mustn’t forget that.
“Two goals in two games this trip with England, I’m sure that will help him immensely. Hopefully he can keep scoring for England, he’s a fantastic talent and someone we are happy to have in our team.”
He added: “We still have two qualifiers left and it would be great to win those and go through winning every game.
“Then we have some tricky friendly games which will be good for us and certain challenge us.”