Wayne Rooney edged one goal closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s record as England coasted past the clothes salesman, the factory worker and the bar owner from San Marino with a simple if not spectacular 5-0 win at Wembley.
The 55,990 fans in attendance started to get anxious when England failed to open the scoring in the first 20 minutes, but Roy Hodgson’s team finally broke the deadlock through Phil Jagielka’s third international goal.
England were sloppy and slow in attack at times in the first half, but Rooney managed to find the net just before the break with a well-taken penalty.
The strike moved the England captain on to 42 international goals – seven short of Charlton.
One can only imagine how many goals Rooney’s idol would have bagged in his pomp against this shoddy San Marino team, who fielded just one professional in their starting XI.
The small European principality put 10 men behind the ball when they were not in possession and they only managed one shot on target.
Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend found the net in the second half and Alessandro Della Valle also scored an own goal to round off the win.
A 5-0 victory over the lowest-ranked team international team in the world does not prove anything, but Hodgson will still be happy to make it two wins from two in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Townsend said England should be content with their evening’s work:
“The main thing was that we got the three points,” he said.
“We’re hoping not to win the group on goal difference, we’re hoping to win it by two or three points, so two, three, four, five tonight doesn’t really matter that much.
“The manager has always shown faith in me and although it was only against San Marino it was nice to come on and get my goal and repay the manager’s faith.”
Jack Wilshere, who was named man of the match, hailed the professional performance from the Three Lions.
He said: “We have done what we had to do. We knew we were going into a game that we were going to win. It was just a matter of keeping our concentration.
“We knew it could take 20-25 minutes (to score). Last time it took 40 minutes to get the goal and once we got it I knew we could get a few and we looked really professional. We showed them enough respect and kept going.
“We didn’t play against one of the top nations in the world but we did a job.
England manager Hodgson was impressed with the performance shown by his side.
“It was a job well done. I certainly can’t fault the players for their application throughout the game and I’m really pleased we’ve got this game behind us,” he said.