San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini is determined to stop Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney from becoming England's leading goal scorer on 5 September. The two nations will face each other in the Euro 2016 qualifiers at the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle in San Marino.
The 29-year-old scored 48 goals for his country and is one short of England and United legend Sir Bobby Charlton. Two goals against San Marino will see the frontman become the leading scorer for the Three Lions.
Simoncini has admitted the stats about Rooney will only further motivate him to stop the England captain from scoring against his side in their upcoming European championship qualifier. The last time these two nations met, Roy Hodgson's men sealed a 5-0 victory, with the Red Devils' star getting his name on the scoresheet.
"I didn't know about the record, but now that I do, it's extra motivation for me," Simoncini says. "I see it as a personal challenge and it will be difficult, but it's just another challenge. Rooney will reach it, because he's a great player. I just hope it's in the game after they face us," Simoncini told 888Sport.com.
In the last three meetings between England and San Marino, the latter failed to score on three occasions and conceded 18 goals in the process. Simoncini is aware of the English side's attacking strength and he went on to admit that he fears their strikers as well as their defenders when playing against the Three Lions.
"When I play against teams like England, I don't just fear their strikers, I even fear their defenders!" he explained.
"People who are used to defending, against us, become attackers, because everyone attacks us! Whoever I have in front of me; if it's Rooney or whoever, it will be very difficult."
"We've faced England three times now and they have always acted like gentlemen with us. Even though we're a small nation, they've always shown us respect.
"I have a lot of respect for the English players because they've always been gentlemen with us, and I really appreciate that. They know we go out to try to honour the shirt and the country. Other countries have treated us like we don't deserve to be there, but never England," the goalkeeper said.