Wayne Rooney scored his 50th England goal in Tuesday’s 2–0 win against Switzerland, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s long standing team record. But he did it with an advantage that Charlton did not have: hair transplants.
“I want to congratulate Wayne because 50 goals is a tremendous achievement and one he should be very proud of,” said Charlton after the Switzerland match. “But let’s be honest. He’s benefitted from performance enhancing procedures which I did not have during my career. And the positive impact these procedures have had for him on the pitch are undeniable.”
Rooney underwent his second hair transplant in 2013. The following year, he scored eight goals — including his first ever goal at a World Cup — in 13 appearances, making 2014 his most prolific year in an England shirt. Continuing this success, he’s already scored four goals in six appearances this year. Charlton, meanwhile, never scored more than seven goals in a calendar year and he did that in his first year with England’s senior team (1958) when he still had a full head of hair.
“I had a rather unwieldy combover that required constant maintenance during matches and prevented me from focusing solely on scoring goals,” Charlton added. “Wayne’s two hair transplants, however, have eliminated similar concerns for him and infused him with a follicular confidence that I simply did not enjoy later in my career. If I had even one hair transplant and didn’t have to worry about my combover flapping in the breeze like half-harvested wheat, I could have scored 60 or 65 goals. So I think of the 49 goals I did score as a more pure record.”
Rooney has been public about his hair transplants and even launched a “#hairwego” hashtag on social media to tout his renewed confidence. But whether future generations will view his new record less favorably because of his medical enhancement remains to be seen.