England coach Hodgson saw his side paired with Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino in an uninspiring draw yesterday, but one which, at least, opens the way for reaching the finals in France in two years.
Rooney has plundered 38 goals in 88 appearances for England and is now just 11 behind Charlton, who is out in front with 49 strikes.
Hodgson backed the Manchester United forward to set a new benchmark and suggested he could even break the current record as England captain if Steven Gerrard, as expected, retires after the World Cup.
Asked if Rooney could outstrip Charlton’s goal tally, Hodgson said: “We would want that.
“He’s definitely up there in terms of international goals. If I was to ring Wayne up and say, by the way, you’re close to Bobby Charlton’s national scoring record, he might say… ‘I know’.
“But we’re going to be together for a longer period of time and that kind of thing might crop up in an everyday conversation and it’s quite good to have that.
“He’s a massive football man. He lives for football. Football is his life. There are plenty of other players we have at the moment who are 33, 34 and are still going strong, still doing good jobs for their club and country, so why not Wayne?
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If I was to ring Wayne up and say, by the way, you’re close to Bobby Charlton’s national scoring record, he might say… ‘I know’
“We’re going to be reliant upon our senior players for the Euros. We have some very good young ones coming through, and we’re getting stronger all the time, but there’s got to be a balance.
“We’re not in a situation where we can just sling out or get rid of any older player who’s still playing well and just go down the youth route.
“Wayne, I’m sure, is a future captain of England because we are losing some of the famous players of the past who have served England so well.
“Maybe when the day comes for Steven Gerrard to hang up his boots, Wayne will be straight in there I’m sure.”
Hodgson, who names his squad on Thursday for the friendly with Denmark on March 5, also believes Rooney’s hopes of making his mark on the World Cup this summer will be boosted by the fact he has put pen to paper on a new contract at United.
“I don’t want to go too much down the route that now he won’t be distracted because I’ve got every faith that he would have come to the World Cup with England and been focused whatever the situation,” said Hodgson.
“But I can’t deny that it’s tremendous that, so early in the season, he’s signed a new contract and committed his long-term future. It is an advantage, no doubt, and I’m pleased for everyone concerned.”
England will begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in September against Switzerland, whom Hodgson led to the World Cup in 1994, but have been warned they do not frighten their Group E rivals.
Slovenia coach, Srecko Katanec, said: “For us it is a good draw. We have England and Switzerland. For me, it is more difficult to play against Spain, Holland or Germany.”