Wayne Rooney was unable to close the gap further on Sir Bobby Charlton's long-standing scoring record as England laboured to a thoroughly tedious goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The Manchester United captain, who had scored in five consecutive internationals before the 1-1 draw with Italy in March, remains two goals shy of Charlton's 49 as the Three Lions lacked the necessary spark and attacking guile in what was their first match in Dublin since a 1995 friendly was abandoned early due to severe crowd trouble.

In a notably poor first half that did little to satisfy those who frequently query the point of such seemingly meaningless contests, Daryl Murphy had two opportunities to put the hosts in front, but he shot wide under pressure from Gary Cahill in the 27th minute before diverting his header from a wicked Robbie Brady free-kick over Joe Hart's crossbar.

England struggled to create anything at all of note before the break, with Adam Lallana's late shot failing to trouble Kieren Westwood.

Substitute James McClean tested Hart after half-time with an awkward effort that skidded off the turf before being deflected wide by the visiting goalkeeper, while Raheem Sterling, persistently booed by many in attendance who presumably hold an allegiance to Liverpool, could only bend a shot wide of the left-hand upright after Jordan Henderson's attempt was blocked.

McClean again proved a threat for Martin O'Neill's side as a cross-cum-shot sent Hart scrambling back towards his goaline before landing harmlessly on the roof of the net. At the other end, Rooney lifted a free-kick over the wall but the ball was comfortably held by Westwood.

Jon Walters then stung Hart's palms with a fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area that the Manchester City stalwart could only parry and Ross Barkley, on for Jack Wilshere, showed one or two bright moments before shooting over.

Roy Hodgson led half-hearted appeals for a penalty as James Milner fell under the challenge of McClean, but referee Arnold Hunter was unmoved.

Andros Townsend looked to replicate his stunning equaliser during England's last friendly in Turin after replacing the disappointing Sterling, yet his whipped left-footed was pushed away by Shay Given.

In-form Theo Walcott entered the fray in place of Lallana for the final eight minutes, yet neither he nor Jamie Vardy – the latter making his England bow aged 28 after rising through the ranks of non-league football to play a starring role in Leicester's remarkable bid for top-flight safety – could find a way through.

Ireland launched their own penalty claim in the dying moments after Phil Jagielka lost his footing and tangled with Walters, but again nothing was given and the full-time whistle sounded to put an end to a desperately poor spectacle that will surely not have taught Hodgson anything more about his relatively young squad prior to the Euro 2016 qualifier in Slovenia on 14 June.

A distinct lack of confrontation between supporters two decades on from a particularly dark episode that saw 40 arrested can be taken as arguably the only redeeming positive from an otherwise turgid afternoon.