England national team won the FIFA world Cup in 1966, hosting the finals and defeating the giant West Germany. Since then they didn’t achieve much success in international football. Nevertheless, the English football holds its glory by presenting some legends throughout the history. In this article, let us have a look at some of the ‘best English footballers ever’.
He is our list of 10 best English footballers ever
[nextpage title=”1″ ]
10. David Beckham
David Beckham has to be considered as the best player of the recent generation of English footballers.Beckham burst on to the international scene in 1996 and earned 115 caps during his illustrious career with the national team.
He had stiff competition, and his style was far from conventional, but he made it work. A winger without pace, what Beckham possessed that few then and few now can match was an ability to pick a pass – or more often, a cross – of any range and with immaculate precision. The role of a playmaker in the position of a winger left many a little more than confused, but the bottom line is, was and always will be that he is the best at what he does.
9. Peter Shilton
One of the best English footballers ever, Peter Shilton set out to become the best goalkeeper of all time, On being told he might not make the grade because he wasn’t tall enough, Shilton went home and began a training regime that involved spending hours at a time hanging from the stairs in attempt to add inches to his frame. He wanted it that badly.
England’s most capped player with 125 caps to his name, Shilton helped himself to a number of England goalkeeping records during his remarkable career – most matches, sixty-six clean sheets, captain fifteen times and second only in terms of age and length of career to Stanley Matthews.
He’s also England oldest ever captain, leading the team out at the age of 40 for the Third Place play-off vs. Italy in 1990. He played in the final stages of the World Cup 17 times – a British record – and kept 10 clean sheets, also a record. He went 499 – some say 500 – minutes without conceding a goal, overtaken only by Italy’s Walter Zenga.
In the 1986 World Cup, Shilton will forever go down in history for being on the receiving end of a contentious goal; Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ effort, one of two strikes that were to doom England in the quarter-final stage.
8. Duncan Edwards
It is very likely that Edwards would have topped the list of best English footballers ever, if it wasn’t for the tragedy happened in Munich runway February 6, 1958. After all, this is a player that Sir Bobby Charlton has admitted made him feel inferior and has also been moved to describe as “simply the greatest footballer of all time”.
Yet Charlton is not the only man who was in awe of Edwards and perhaps the best way to describe him is to use the words of those who knew him best.
Manchester United manager Matt Busby, who handed him his debut as a 16-year-old, called him the most “complete footballer in Britain – possibly the world”.
7. Gary Linekar
Lineker had a reputation for being one of football’s nice guys during his playing days, while netting 244 goals for his clubs side in 466 games and 48 goals for England in 80 matches, Lineker did not receive a single card, whether it be red or yellow.
The striker made his reputation worldwide for his goalscoring exploits as he shone at both club and international level, in the process earning a reputation as a true gentleman.
His record when playing for the Three Lions saw him score just one goal less than the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton and that is only because he fluffed a penalty in his last ever international at Wembley against Brazil.
6. Tom Finney
Former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said about Finney ,
“TOM FINNEY WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT IN ANY TEAM, IN ANY MATCH, AND IN ANY AGE , EVEN IF HE HAD BEEN WEARING AN OVERCOAT.”
During the 1940s and 50s, Finney was a genuine superstar, contesting the right-wing berth in the England team with Stanley Matthews, but possessing the versatility to switch seamlessly to the left-wing and even centre-forward so that both talents could be accommodated in the same line-up. He was twice voted the FWA footballer of the year in 1954 and 1957.
[nextpage title=”2″ ]
5. Gordon Banks
Considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper of all time, Gordon Banks will forever be remembered for his save from Pele’s header during the 1970 World Cup Finals. Yet those who saw Banks play knew he was capable of repeating such a feat on a cold December afternoon when all that was at stake was two points. He wasn’t just great – he was consistently on top of his game and a Banks’ mistake was very rare indeed.
First capped at the age of 25, he was the first England goalkeeper to play more than 33 times and the first to keep more than ten clean sheets. During his career he established a number of records at international level for England that remained until Peter Shilton came onto the scene.
But Shilton was unable to capture all of Banks’ records. Banks still holds the England record of seven clean sheets in a row, which was finally ended by Eusebio’s late penalty in the semi-finals of the 1966 World Cup, and he played in 23 consecutive internationals without defeat between 1964-67. And of course, he is still the only English goalkeeper ever to win a World Cup Winners medal.
However, Gordon Banks’ success on the international stage was not mirrored domestically. He seemed destined to miss out on Cup glory until finally winning the League Cup with Stoke City in 1972, having twice been a losing FA Cup Finalist with Leicester City during the 1960s.
4. Jimmy Greaves
Greavsie, as he is affectionately known, scored 357 goals in 514 league games and 44 goals in 57 games for England. A goalscorer like him are not seen in every generation.
Fouth in our list of best English footballers ever, Jimmy Greaves’ innate goalscoring talent saw him break both club and country records during a career which made him the best marksman of his generation and one of the best of all time.
Greaves’ instinctive, natural gift, as he himself described it, of being able to put the ball in the net saw him finish as top scorer in the English first division on six different occasions, a record that still stands today.
3. Stanley Matthews
Matthews became the first Footballer of the Year when the English Football Writers’ Association introduced their prestigious award in 1948 and won it again in 1963, and then the first European Footballer of the Year(Ballon d’Or) in 1956. He was the first player to be immortalised by having an FA Cup final named after him, and the first to be knighted while still plying his trade on the pitch.
He raised the profiles of two unfashionable clubs – Stoke City and Blackpool – in a career that spanned a staggering 33 years and was punctuated by an unprecedented string of firsts.
His dedication for football was unmatched as he played until the age of 50 with Stoke City, while his last appearance in international match came against Denmark eight years earlier.
Third in our list of best English footballers ever, Sir Stanley Matthews died in February 2000, three weeks after his 85th birthday, and his ashes were buried beneath the centre circle of Stoke’s Britannia Stadium. There is a statue of Matthews in the centre of Hanley, and another outside the Britannia Stadium, whose dedication says:
‘His name is symbolic of the beauty of the game, his fame timeless and international, his sportsmanship and modesty universally acclaimed. A magical player, of the people, for the people’.
[nextpage title=”3″ ]
2. Bobby Moore
The most iconic image in English football is of Bobby Moore holding aloft the World Cup on 30 July 1966. It was a perfect moment in the sporting history of the country, and Moore – composed, immaculate and stylish – was its perfect hero.
Indeed, his manager, Alf Ramsey, said of Bobby in the aftermath of that triumph, “My captain, my leader, my right-hand man. He was the spirit and the heartbeat of the team. A cool, calculating footballer I could trust with my life. He was the supreme professional, the best I ever worked with. Without him England would never have won the World Cup.”
Bobby Moore was the counter stone of a well-organized defence in 1966 world cup. In the next competition, 1970 world cup he produced a memorable challenge to Brazilian Jairzinho in full flow. He is a member of world team the 20th century. Bobby Moore Captained West Ham United for more than 10 years.
1. Bobby Charlton
No-one symbolises English football more than Bobby Charlton. During the 1960s he was the most famous – and popular – Englishman in the world. He was, and remains, English football’s ultimate ambassador of the game.
First in our list of best English footballers ever, Bobby Charlton won the world cup in 1966 and was very successful with his club also. That record is impressive enough: Charlton won three Football League championships, the FA Cup, European Cup and World Cup.
He was Footballer of the Year in both England and Europe; and holds the record for 2nd most goals for Manchester United and England. But it is also the context of his career that made it so unique, poignant and globally admired.
Checkout : Best Strikers In The Premier League History