8. Wilf Mannion
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
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. Johnny Haynes
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 led 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
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 a 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
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 the top level.
In a career of fewer 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 the 1950s, 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.