Elsewhere, the Republic of Ireland conceded a late leveller to slump to a 2-2 stalemate with Austria, while Scotland and Wales were beaten by Serbia and Croatia respectively.
Here is the best of the Twitter reaction from the professionals, past and present, in chronological order to a disappointing night for the home nations.
Injured Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) wishes his team-mates the all the best: “Good luck tonight lads. Come on #England!”
Former Coventry striker Darren Huckerby (@hucks6dh6) is impressed by Rooney’s chipped effort: “That was nearly magical from Rooney!”
Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier (@mattletiss7) agrees with Huckerby: “Great vision by Rooney so unlucky.”
England legend Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) is glad to see Roy Hodgson’s men rewarded for a bright start: “Get in Rooney. Terrific start rewarded with a goal.”
Former Sunderland star Michael Gray (@mickygray33) wonders whether Rooney can beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 strikes: “Wayne Rooney now has 35 goals for England…, Can he overhaul Sir Bobby Charlton as England’s all time goal scorer? #England”
Ireland mifielder David Meyler (@DavidMeyler) is thrilled to see his country overturn an early goal to lead 2-1: “Great goal again just before half-time. Long and Walters chasing havoc! #COYBIG”
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris (@morriskid) reckons Danny Welbeck should have had a spot-kick – not a booking: “Penalty all day..clipped his heel..intentional or not that’s a pen..joke yellow card!!!”
Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) gives Hodgson some tactical advice: “Hub of England midfield is too deep, too reactive. Carrick, Gerrard anchored almost on our 18 yard box. Milner or Cleverley off, Parker on?”
Ex-Crystal Palace forward Mark Bright (@Mark__Bright) can’t believe how soft Montenegro’s equaliser was: “For crying out loud England, that’s bread and butter stuff, we deal with week in week out, a simple cross, Hodgson too slow to change the team.”
West Brom midfielder Steven Reid (@stevenreid12) is gutted to see Ireland concede a late leveller: “Disaster #Ireland 2-2 last minute equaliser!!”
England legend Peter Reid (@reid6peter) reckons this Three Lions side isn’t that great: “Average that England.”
Marseille midfielder Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) didn’t even bother watching England: “Watched France who played well, unlucky not to get something. Pogba sending off harsh. Bored of Team England…”
Finally, former Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane (@kdkilbane77) felt the Men in Green deserved more from the game: “Alba was superb for Austria tonight. Really disappointing to concede so late. Shane Long very good for Ireland.”