World Football News

England’s 1,000 games: Pick your England all-time XI

9views

England’s men will play their 1,000th match when they face Montenegro on 14 November.

In the 147 years since their opening game against Scotland the Three Lions have won 568 times, scored 2,188 goals and lost on 189 occasions.

The 19 managers have selected 1,244 players – but who would you have in the all-time XI?

BBC Sport journalists – including chief football writer Phil McNulty, BBC Radio 5 Live’s football correspondent John Murray and senior football reporter Ian Dennis – have selected a long list below, so have a read through each player’s England credentials, then choose your formation and pick your team at the bottom of this page.

The results will be revealed in a special programme on BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, 13 November from 19:00 GMT with a panel of guests discussing your selections.

GOALKEEPERS

Gordon Banks Career span: (1963-72). Caps/goals: 73/0. Major tournaments (in squad) World Cups (WC) 66, 70. European Championships (EU) 68

The greatest keeper of them all? World Cup winner who kept 35 clean sheets for England and made ‘that’ save from Pele. Named Fifa goalkeeper of the year six years in a row from 1966 onwards.

Ray Clemence (1972-83). 61/0. WC 82. EU 80

Won five league titles with Liverpool in the 1970s but never tasted such success on the international stage. A long-term rival with Peter Shilton for the number one spot, he went on to be part of England’s backroom staff.

Joe Hart (2008-17) 75/0. WC 10, 14. EU 12, 16

Made his international debut at the age of 21 and won his first six matches. An international for a decade but beaten easily by Gareth Bale and Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson at Euro 2016 and left out of the squad for the last World Cup.

David Seaman (1988-2002). 75/0. WC 90, 98, 02. EU 96, 00

Part of the Italia 90 squad before coming home with injury, outstanding in Euro 96. Saved a penalty from Scotland’s Gary McAllister but was beaten from long, long range by Ronaldinho in 2002…

Peter Shilton (1970-90). 125/0. WC 82, 86, 90. EU 80, 88

England’s most-capped player, who retired after the semi-final defeat of 1990. Didn’t make his World Cup debut until 32 but has played more games in the finals than anyone else for England (17).

DEFENDERS

Tony Adams (1987-2000). 66/5. WC 98. EU 88, 96, 00

First player to represent England who was born after the World Cup win in 1966. Played in tournaments in three separate decades and scored the last England goal at the ‘old’ Wembley. Captain on 15 occasions, including at Euro 96.

Jimmy Armfield (1959-66). 43/0. WC 62, 66

Voted best right-back in the world after the 1962 World Cup in Chile, Armfield captained England on 15 occasions before going on to be a much-loved broadcaster and pundit. Didn’t play in the 1966 finals but was awarded a winning medal at Downing Street in 2009.

Viv Anderson (1978-88). 30/2. WC 82, 86. EU 80, 88

The first black player to play for England when he made his debut against Czechoslovakia in 1978, Anderson won two European Cups with Nottingham Forest and went to two World Cups.

Terry Butcher (1980-90). 77/3. WC 82, 86, 90

Captained England on seven occasions and made his debut at – of all places – the MCG, the fabled Australian cricket ground. Famously bled for the cause in Sweden after receiving a cut to the head during a World Cup qualifier in September 1989; missed Euro 88 with a broken leg.

Sol Campbell (1996-2007). 73/1. WC 98, 02, 06. EU 96, 00, 04

If only that header had counted against Argentina in 1998… Campbell was the first player to feature for England in six consecutive major tournaments. The current Southend boss was captain on three occasions.

Jack Charlton (1965-70). 35/6. WC 66, 70. EU 68

Bobby’s older brother didn’t make his debut until he was 29 but still managed to win the World Cup, building a formidable centre-back pairing with Bobby Moore. Only lost twice in an England shirt.

Ashley Cole (2001-14). 107/0. WC 02, 06, 10. EU 04, 12

No outfield player has played more times for England without scoring – the left-back was truly world class for the majority of his time in the white shirt. Only Peter Shilton has played in more World Cup finals games for the Three Lions.

Rio Ferdinand (1997-2011) 81/2. WC 98, 02, 06, 10

Was the youngest defender to play for England when he made his debut in 1997, one of only three players to be named in four World Cup squads but never played at a Euros – he sat out Euro 2004 after missing a drugs test.

Bobby Moore (1962-73) 108/2. WC 62, 66, 70. EU 68

An icon. Was England’s youngest captain at the age of 22 and went on to lead the team on 90 occasions – a record shared with Billy Wright. Lifted the World Cup at Wembley in 1966.

Kenny Sansom (1979-88) 86/1. WC 82, 86. EU 80, 88

Was England’s most-capped full-back until overtaken by Ashley Cole. The left-back played in 37 consecutive games for England.

Gary Neville (1995-2007) 85/0. WC 98, 06. EU 96, 00, 04.

At home in a back three in his early career or more regularly at right-back, and was first choice for more than a decade. England’s finest right-back?

Stuart Pearce (1987-99) 78/5. WC 90, EU 92, 96.

Provided one of England’s most memorable moments with his penalty against Spain in 1996, six years after missing in the World Cup 90 semi-final shootout against West Germany. Third-oldest outfield player to play for England when he faced Poland in 1999 at the age of 37 years and 137 days. Captain on 10 occasions.

John Terry (2003-12) 78/6. WC 06, 10. EU 04, 12

Nudged ahead of Sol Campbell to partner Rio Ferdinand at Euro 2004, and was captain on 32 occasions over the next nine years. Had his off-field issues – was stripped of the captaincy twice.

Des Walker (1988-93). 59/0. WC 90, EU 92.

One of the stars of England’s march to the semi-finals in 1990, but was beaten for pace by Marc Overmars in a crucial qualifier against the Netherlands three years later and never played for England again after Graham Taylor was sacked.

Ray Wilson (1960-68). 63/0. WC 62, 66. EU 68

England’s World Cup-winning left-back and, at 31, the oldest member of the team which beat West Germany in 1966. Retired to become an undertaker in Huddersfield.

Billy Wright (1946-59). 105/3. WC 50, 54, 58.

England captain on 90 occasions, a mark only matched by Bobby Moore. Was the first player in the world to reach 100 caps and missed three matches in 13 seasons.

MIDFIELDERS

Alan Ball (1965-75). 72/8. WC 66, 70. EU 68

Only 21 when he played a key part in England’s World Cup win in 1966, and earned himself a record transfer of £112,000 to Everton after the tournament. Captain on six occasions and just the second man to be sent off for England.

John Barnes (1983-95). 79/11. WC 86, 90. EU 88, 92

Maybe never reached the heights of his club career with Liverpool but still a key player for a decade and scored one of the great individual goals in Brazil in 1984. Played up front alongside Gary Lineker at times.

David Beckham (1996-2009). 115/17. WC 98, 02, 06. EU 00, 04.

Went from the ignominy of being sent off in France in 1998 to carrying England to the next World Cup virtually single-handed. Scored in three World Cups – the first Englishman to do so. Captain on 59 occasions which puts him fourth on the overall list.

Bobby Charlton (1958-70). 106/49. WC 58, 62, 66, 70. EU 68.

One of three men to be picked in four World Cup squads and was England’s record appearance holder and goalscorer when he retired after the 1970 World Cup. Made his England debut two months after surviving the Munich air disaster – won the Ballon d’Or in 1966.

Tom Finney (1946-58). 76/30. WC 50, 54, 58.

Became England’s leading goalscorer in 1958 – breaking Vivian Woodward’s 47-year-old record. The oldest England player to score a penalty at 36 years and 58 days, Liverpool manager Bill Shankly considered him to be the greatest player to ever play the game.

Paul Gascoigne (1988-98) 57/10. WC 90. EU 96.

The best player of his generation? ‘Gazza’ was a genuine superstar who captured a nation’s hearts in 1990. Only played in two tournaments and lost a semi-final in a shootout to German opposition in both. Iconic player who scored one of England’s finest ever goals against Scotland in 1996.

Steven Gerrard (2000-14) 114/21. WC 06, 10, 14. EU 00, 04, 12

Missed the 2002 World Cup through injury but still England’s fourth most-capped player. Didn’t lose in his first 21 games, scored at two World Cups and a Euros. Would you pick him alongside Frank Lampard?

Glenn Hoddle (1979-88) 53/8. WC 82, 86. EU 80, 88

Fewer caps for England than Glen Johnson, supremely talented midfielder who often failed to fit into a rigid system. Wasn’t picked for last three years of his career with Monaco, went on to manage England during World Cup 98.

Frank Lampard (1999-2014) 106/29. WC 06, 10, 14. EU 04, 12

The current Chelsea manager took nearly five years to cement himself in the England team – and then was virtually ever-present for a decade. Only eight men have scored more goals for their country and nobody has scored more penalties than his nine.

Stanley Matthews (1934-57) 54/11. WC 50, 54.

The wizard of dribble. With an international career spanning a barely believable 23 years, Matthews is England’s oldest player and goalscorer, and was also the youngest player to score on his debut in 1934. He was 42 when he played his final game and won the inaugural Ballon d’Or at the age of 41.

Martin Peters (1966-74) 67/20. WC 66, 70. EU 68

The only man apart from West Ham team-mate Geoff Hurst to score in a World Cup final for England. Had only won three caps before the 1966 World Cup, and scored against West Germany again in the 1970 quarter-final defeat.

David Platt (1989-96) 62/27. WC 90, EU 92, 96

Alongside Gascoigne as the breakout player from World Cup 90, he also played a key part in England’s run to the Euro semi-finals six years later. Captain for 19 games in the early 1990s, Platt was a prolific goalscorer from midfield.

Bryan Robson (1980-91) 90/26. WC 82, 86, 90. EU 88

So often injured at key times, ‘captain marvel’ led the team for 65 of his 90 caps. Scored what was the then fastest goal in World Cup history when he struck after 27 seconds against France in 1982.

Paul Scholes (1997-2004) 66/14. WC 98, 02. EU 00, 04

Another great who England didn’t get the best out of? Marginalised on the left during the latter stage of his international career but still scored at Euro 2000 and 2004, as well as at the World Cup of 1998.

Chris Waddle (1985-91). 62/6. WC 86, 90. EU 88.

Hit the crossbar and the post against West Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final – and then missed the decisive penalty. The third-most expensive player in the world when Marseille paid Tottenham £4.5m in 1989, Waddle was an old-fashioned winger who played centrally at times.

Ray Wilkins (1976-86) 84/3. WC 82, 86. EU 80

Scored a wonderful solo goal at Euro 80 and sent off at the World Cup of 1986. Like many of Wilkins’ contemporaries, there is a suggestion that England didn’t see the best of him.

FORWARDS

Peter Beardsley (1986-96) 59/9. WC 86, 90. EU 88

Only scored nine goals but that doesn’t tell the whole story – was often the foil to the prolific Gary Lineker. Made a late comeback for England under Terry Venables and was named in the provisional squad for Euro 96 at the age of 35.

Steve Bloomer (1895-1907) 23/28.

A striker from the Victorian era, Bloomer topped the England goalscoring list for 58 years and scored more than a goal per game. Scored in all of his first 10 caps – a record – managing 19 goals in that time.

Jimmy Greaves (1959-67) 57/44. WC 62, 66

Scored on his debut at the age of 19 and barely stopped – firing six hat-tricks during his career. Injured during the 1966 World Cup and lost his place to Geoff Hurst for the final. Was England’s top scorer when he stopped playing and is only behind Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker to this day.

Johnny Haynes (1954-62) 56/18. WC 58, 62

The first England player to feature at every level from schoolboy upwards when he made his debut, the Fulham forward was also the first £100-a-week player. Captained England 22 times but his international career was cut short by a car crash on Blackpool promenade.

Geoff Hurst (1966-72) 49/24. WC 66, 70. EU 68

Only made his England debut in February 1966 but came into the side for the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina after an injury to Jimmy Greaves. Scored in that game and then got a hat-trick in the final – still the only player to do so.

Harry Kane (2015-) 43/28. WC 18, EU 16

The second English man to win the Golden Boot with his six goals at World Cup 2018 – Kane scored in each of his first eight games as captain and has 23 competitive goals already – only Rooney and Owen have more.

Kevin Keegan (1972-82) 63/21. WC 82, EU 80

England struggled to qualify for major tournaments during much of Keegan’s international career, then went out at the Euro 80 group stage. His England days ended with a header wide in a match against Spain in 1982 as Ron Greenwood’s side missed out on a World Cup semi-final spot. Captained England on 31 occasions and managed them briefly in 1999-2000.

Tommy Lawton (1938-48). 23/22.

Scored on his debut as a 19-year-old but lost much of the peak of his career to World War Two. Still scored 22 goals in 23 caps before falling out of favour after a row with manager Walter Winterbottom about his smoking habit. Played for England as a Third Division player, and was called ‘the greatest header of a ball ever’ by Stanley Matthews.

Gary Lineker (1984-92) 80/48. WC 86, 90. EU 88, 92

Golden Boot winner at the 1986 World Cup, where he scored a hat-trick against Poland, and scored four more in Italy four years later. His World Cup total of 10 goals is only bettered by seven players in history. Ended his career one goal shy of Bobby Charlton’s record and is now third on the nation’s all-time scoring list. The oldest player to score a hat-trick for England.

Nat Lofthouse (1950-58) 33/30. WC 54

The first player to score twice as a substitute for England, Lofthouse was 25 when he made his debut and was utterly prolific for his country, scoring 30 goals in just 33 games. He is still joint sixth on the all-time list.

Stan Mortensen (1947-53) 25/23. WC 1950

Scored four goals on his England debut as they thrashed Portugal 10-0 and scored England’s first World Cup finals goal as they beat Chile in Rio in 1950.

Michael Owen (1998-2008) 89/40. WC 98, 02, 06 EU 00, 04

Few England players have announced themselves on a global stage quite like Michael Owen did at France 98. His goal against Argentina in the last 16 ranks as one of England’s finest and for so long he seemed certain to set records. He was only 27 when he scored his 40th and final goal for his country as his form and fitness tailed off. Scored in four consecutive major tournaments – a record – before injury ended his World Cup in Germany. Only Rooney has more competitive goals.

Wayne Rooney (2003-18) 120/53. WC 06, 10, 14. EU 04, 12, 16

England’s record goalscorer and record outfield appearance maker. Captained them on 22 occasions and is their youngest goalscorer at the age of 17 years, 317 days.

Perhaps peaked as early as Euro 2004 when he scored four times before picking up an injury. He only scored three times in his five subsequent major tournaments, ending his days in midfield at Euro 2016.

Alan Shearer (1992-2000) 63/30. WC 98. EU 92, 96, 00

Scored on his debut alongside Gary Lineker and on his final appearance alongside Michael Owen. Captained England at his only World Cup and was top scorer at Euro 96.

Raheem Sterling (2012-) 55/12. WC 14, 18. EU 16

Has only scored 12 times for England but 10 of those have come in his past 10 appearances. Has 55 caps at the age of 24, putting him in the top 50 for appearances already. At 19, he was youngest player to be sent off for England.

Vivian Woodward (1903-14) 23/28.

Injured in World War One and won gold medals at the 1908 and 1912 Olympics – not your average footballer. Was England’s record goalscorer for 47 years.

All stats