Greatest English Midfielders Of All Time – Top 15

Midfielders are the heart and soul of a team. They chain between defense and attack, they can open up opposition defense with one pass or make a game changing tackle to deny a scoring chance for their opponents. England has alaways been blessed with great midfielders, let us have a look at some of the greatest English midfielders of all time.

Based on consistency, impact, longevity, here are the 15 greatest English midfielders of all time.

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15. Trevor Brooking

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Many good things emerged from West Ham’s golden age in the 1960’s, and Trevor Brooking was certainly one of them. Having graduated through Greenwood’s regime, Brooking was ready to continue the legacy of beautiful football when the stars of the previous era began to leave and retire. Brooking stepped up to become West Ham’s most important player.

His majestic nature was so evident on a playing surface far rougher and muddier than the smooth ground we see today, that it is definitely worth arguing. He was rarely booked or sent off during his West Ham career and due to his gentlemanly approach to the game where he rarely contested a referee’s decision.

Brooking won the 1975 FA Cup and the 1980 FA Cup in which he scored the only goal. He was also the club’s player of the season on four occasions and caretaker manager on two occasions in 2003. Brooking played 47 times for England, scoring five times.

Checkout : 10 Greatest West Ham Players Ever

14. Peter Beardsley

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Outstanding attack-minded footballer Beardsley played at two separate World Cup finals while achieving over 50 caps for his country. Beardsley has a World Cup goal to his name after finding the back of the net in England’s 3-0 win over Paraguay in 1986.

At club level, he played for Newcastle United, Liverpool and Everton, having also had spells with Carlisle United, Manchester United, Vancouver Whitecaps, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Fulham, Hartlepool United and the Melbourne Knights. He is most notably remembered for his time with Newcastle United, where he made more than 300 apps over two spells.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Newcastle Players Ever

13. Glenn Hoddle

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Glen Hoddle was a supremely gifted midfielder during his heyday. He featured in two World Cup finals, making a single appearance at the 1982 competition. He played a more prominent role four years later, helping his nation reach the quarter-finals following some fine performances. Glenn Hoddle was, without doubt, one of the most naturally gifted English player of his generation.

Hoddle lit up the White Hart Lane for 12 years with sublime skills, unequalled passing ability, his eye for a goal and that knack of being able to turn a game with a moment of magic. He played more than 500 games for Spurs and is regarded as one of their greatest ever players.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Tottenham Hotspur Players Ever

12. David Beckham

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One of greatest English midfielders of all time, Beckham’s sweet right foot and ability from set-pieces was a key cog in Sir Alex Ferguson’s system for nearly a decade. His nine full seasons at Man United earned six Premier League titles.

Beckham played at three World Cup finals and missed out on a fourth after picking up an Achilles injury prior to the 2010 competition. The midfielder had an eventful World Cup history, after he was dismissed against Argentina in 1998 having scored versus Colombia in the group stage. He then struck a crucial penalty against the Argentines in 2002 before sending the Three Lions to the quarter-finals in 2006 by netting against Ecuador.

He notched up 265 apps for Manchester United, before he hopped around European giants, such as Real Madrid, AC Milan, PSG and also the MLS outfit LA Galaxy.

11. Martin Peters

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Peters was a fine midfielder during his prime, with his speed and creativity helping to propel England to glory in 1966. Indeed, Peters scored in the 4-2 win over West Germany in the final at Wembley. He was again called upon four years later, and again he netted versus the Germans. But this time England lost in extra-time.

A free kick specialist, Peters was described by England manager Sir Alf Ramsey, after a game against Scotland in 1968, as being “ten years ahead of his time”.

He made 364 appearances in claret and blue, scoring 100 goals, before moving to Spurs in 1970 where he won two League Cups and a UEFA Cup. A true legend of the game and one of the greatest English midfielders of all time.

10. Steven Gerrard

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For the fans of Liverpool, Gerrard is nothing less than God. With so many great memories, its only normal for Liverpool fans to love him so much.

He is the sole footballer in history to score in an FA Cup Final, a League Cup Final, a UEFA Cup Final and a UEFA Champions League Final, winning on each occasion.

In his 17 seasons at Anfield, Gerrard won a total of two FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup, one FA Community Shield and one UEFA Super Cup.

At international level, the liverpool icon and a legend of the game Steven Gerrard is the fourth-most capped player in the history of the England national team with 114 caps, scoring 21 goals.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Liverpool Players Ever

9. Colin Bell

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Bell is considered as one of Manchester City’s best ever player. The Colin Bell Stand at the Etihad Stadium is named in his honour. He was a fine, hard working, midfielder who came in in the Post 66 years and was starting to look like a world class player when injury broke him down.

In total Bell has won 48 caps and scored nine goals for England. He also lead the England national team for a game in 1972. Bell is regarded as one of England’s finest ever midfield players, also described by one commentator as ‘the most finished article in the modern game’. He definitely earns a place among one of the greatest English midfielders of all time.

Checkout : 10 Greatest Manchester City Players Ever


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8. Wilf Mannion

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Mannion joined his local team Middlesbrough F.C. in 1936 and made 341 League appearances for them, scoring on 99 occasions. He scored 110 goals in all competitions for his team Middlesbrough.

Mannion played on 26 occasions for the England national football team between 1946 and 1951, and his last appearance came on 3 October 1951. He was a part of the England squad for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Mannion died on 14 April 2000 at the age of 81.

After his death, Middlesbrough FC erected a statue of Mannion outside the Riverside Stadium. In 2004, it was announced that he was being inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.

7. Paul Gascoigne

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Also known by his nickname Gazza, Gascoigne earned 57 caps during his controversial England career and has been described by the National Football Museum as “the most naturally gifted English midfielder of his generation”.

He was part of the England squad that reached fourth place in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where he famously cried after getting a yellow card in the semi-final with West Germany, which meant he would have been suspended for the final, had England won the game. He also helped the team to reach the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 1996, scoring a goal against Scotland which was described as one of the best of that tournament.

In 1991, he produced one of the FA Cup’s most iconic goals. Tottenham were awarded a free kick just five minutes into their semi-final clash with bitter rivals Arsenal, and Gazza’s stunning 30-yard drive was too strong for David Seaman. Spurs won the game 3-1. Spurs later celebrated a 2-1 win in the Final but Gazza injured himself that kept him out for a year.

6. Johhny Haynes

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Haynes made his debut for the England football team in October 1954, scoring a goal in a 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland. He first lead England in 1960 and played for them at two World Cups. The magical passer of the ball who invented, with Fulham and England, the diagonal cross-field ball behind the full back and after that became England’s first £100-a-week footballer.

In total he made 657 appearances for Fulham, and scored 157 goals. On 17 October 2005, Haynes was driving his car when he unfortunately suffered a brain haemorrhage, which effectively made him brain dead in a flash.

The Fulham Supporters Trust stated: “His dedication, skill, professionalism, grace and charm – both in his playing days and in retirement – serve as a poignant reminder to many of today’s footballers about what true greatness really means.” Without any doubt, he was one of the greatest English midfielders of all time.

5. Frank Lampard

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Lampard is the all-time leading goalscorer for Chelsea, where he played for 13 years, and is regarded by a number of journalists and football pundits to be one of the greatest midfielders of this generation.

He got his first cap for England on 10 October 1999 in a 2–1 friendly win over Belgium, and scored his first goal on 20 August 2003 in a 3–1 win over Croatia. Lampard became only the eighth English player to earn his 100th England cap, that too in a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, on 10 September 2013.

Lampard was an versatile box-to-box player, who was capable of playing anywhere in midfield; throughout his career he was played as a central midfielder, as an attacking midfielder, as a defensive midfielder, and even as a supporting striker. On 26 August 2014, Lampard made an announcement that he had retired from international football. He earned 106 caps, scoring 29 goals.

Checkout : Greatest Chelsea Players Ever

4. Duncan Edwards

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Edwards signed for Manchester United as a teenager and went on to become the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division and the then youngest England player since the Second World War, he played 18 times for his country at top level.

In a career of less than five years he assisted United to win two Football League championships, two FA Charity Shields and reach the semi-finals of the European Cup. Although he is remembered as a defensive midfielder, Edwards is said to have been able to play in any outfield position on the field. His versatility was such that once he started the match as an emergency striker in place of one injured player before being switched to central defence in place of another.

He was one of the Busby Babes, the young United team under manager Matt Busby of the1950s, playing 151 matches for the club. One of eight players who were declared dead as a result of the Munich air disaster, he survived initially but sadly surrendered to his injuries in hospital two weeks later.


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3. Paul Scholes

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Scholes is the most adorned English footballer of all time, and one of the most successful footballers in history. He won a total of 25 trophies, featuring 11 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles. Scholes made his international debut against South Africa in 1997 in a 2–1 friendly win at Old Trafford, and was included in the England squad for the 1998 World Cup.

He was highly viewed for his technical skills, renowned for his accurate passing, intelligent movement and powerful shooting from long range. A tenacious, and versatile box-to-box player, he was capable of playing in any midfield position.

Scholes became a prominent player in England’s midfield, becoming a first-choice selection for the 2002 World Cup. Scholes announced his retirement from international football in August 2004, stating his family life and his career with Manchester United as being more important.

Checkout : Greatest Manchester United Players Ever

2. Bryan Robson

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Robson started his career with West Bromwich Albion in 1972 before moving to Manchester United in 1981 where he became the longest ever serving captain in the club’s history. He represented England on 90 occasions between 1980 and 1991, making him, at the time, the fifth most capped England player.

His goalscoring tally of 26 placed him eighth on the list at the time. Robson lead England 65 times, with only Bobby Moore and Billy Wright having captained England more. He was also known by the nicknames “Robbo” and “Captain Marvel”.

Robson had a “Terrific football brain” and had exceptional awareness and anticipation; frequently intercepting or knowing where the ball would land ahead of other players.

1. Sir Bobby Charlton

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Sir Bobby Charlton is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, and an important member of the England team who won the World Cup in 1966, he also won the Ballon d’Or that year.

Charlton’s exposure as the country’s leading youth football talent was completed when he was called up to join the England squad for a game against Scotland on 19 April 1958, just over two months after he had survived the Munich air disaster.

He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970), and aided England to win it in 1966.

At the time of his retirement from the England team in 1970, he was the nation’s most capped player, having played 106 times at the highest level. This record has since been held by Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.

In January 2011 Charlton was voted the 4th greatest Manchester United player of all time by the readers of Inside United and ManUtd.com.


Subhayan Chakraborty

Post Graduation student of Journalism and Mass Communication, aiming to be a top sports journalist and change the scenario of sports journalism in India and educate people about sports in India.

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