Saturday, October 25, 2014

England All-time 23-member team

This is my all-time team for England. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.  My all-time team for the United kingdom is here.

England 1966

The British invented the sport.  So England dominated the sport in the early years, but it did not participate in the World Cup until the 1950 Finals.  They finally won the WC in 1966. Their best performance since 1966 was a semifinal appearance in 1990.  As for the European Championship, the Three Lions reached the semifinal of Euro 1996 at home. They are generally considered as the unluckiest national team in the world.  They went out of the WC Finals in 1990, 1998, and 2006, and out of the European Championship in 1996, 2004 and 2012 through penalty shootouts. They were eliminated by a Maradona's hand ball in 1986.
  
Team GK: Peter Shilton
Peter Shilton is considered one of the greatest keepers ever.  He is England's all-time cap record-holder with 125.  He earned his first cap in 1970 and his last 20 years later in 1990.  He took England to 4th place in WC 1986.  He also won two straight European Cups in 1979 and 1980 with Nottingham Forrest.

Peter Shilton

GK: Gordon Banks
Named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year 6 times.  He won the WC in 1966.  He made one of the game's great saves to prevent a PelĂ© goal in the 1970 World Cup.  Along with Lev Yashin, he is considered the greatest keepers of his generation.

GK: Ray Clemence
He won 3 European Cups and 2 UEFA Cups in the 1970's with Liverpool and 1 UEFA Cup with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was voted as Liverpool's greatest keeper.  For the national team, he was locked in a battle of number 1 with Peter Shilton.  He made 61 appearances for England.

RB: Jimmy Armfield
Blackpool's greatest player.  He captained England for 15 times.  He was voted "the best right-back in the world" after the 1962 WC in Chile.  He was a member of England's 1966 WC team.  An injury prevented him from playing any of the games.

Jimmy Armfield
RB: Phil Neal
The great right back from Liverpool of the 1970's. One of England's most decorated player: 4 First Divisions, 4 League Cups, 5 FA Charity Shields, 4 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Super Cups. Neal also had a long career with England winning 50 caps and playing in the 1982 World Cup.

CB: Bobby Moore 
Captain of the 1966 WC winning team. Regarded one of the greatest defenders of all time.  He played mainly for West Ham, but also had a stint in the NASL.  He won a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham.  He won a total of 108 caps for the England team, which at the time of his international retirement in 1973 was a national record.

Bobby Moore

CB: Billy Wright
The first football player in the world to earn 100 caps(105 total), captaining England 90 times in 3 WC Finals. He was one of England's finest center-backs.  He spent his whole career at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Billy Wright

CB: Rio Ferdinand
Became the youngest defender to play for the Three Lions at the time in 1997.   He played 81 times for England  between 1997 and 2011, and was a member of three World Cup squads.  At one point, he was the most expensive British footballer and also broke the world's record transfer fees for a defender twice. He won the Champions' League with Manchester United in 2008.

CB: Sol Campbell
A member of Arsenal's "Invincibles" that went undefeated in 2003-2004 season.  He spent 9 seasons for Tottenham Hotsours before moving to its rival Arsenal on a free transfer.  For England, he earned 73 caps in 11 years.  He went to three World Cup Finals.


LB: Eddie Hapgood
Captained both Arsenal and England during the 1930s. He was one of first star players in England.  He was capped 30 times.  He captained England during the famous "the Battle of Highbury" against World Cup winner Italy in 1934.

LB: Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole was considered one of the finest leftbacks of his generation.  He was voted the England Player of the Year in 2010. He played in 3 WC Finals.  He is also England's most-capped full-back in history.  He played with Arsenal, but moved to its rival Chelsea.  He won the Champions' League in 2012 with Chelsea. 

CM: Duncan Edwards (England)
Edwards  was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United.  He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster.  Many people considered him to be  England's greatest player.  He was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.

Duncan Edwards
CM: Bryan Robson
He was at one point the most expensive British player.  He is considered to be one of England's best ever box-to-box midfielders.  He earned 90 caps for England. He went to three World Cup Finals, but he only played a major role in 1982.  He was injured in both 1986 and 1990.  He spent 13 years with Manchester United.

CM: Steve Gerrard
He represented his country at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 UEFA European Football Championships, as well as the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups – captaining the team at the latter two tournaments.  He led Liverpool in winning the Champions' League in 2005. He is the third highest cap holder for the Three LionsHe won the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2006 and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009.


AM/CM: Paul Scholas 
Scholas was a member of Manchester United's Class of 1992.  He spent 20 years with Manchester United's first team.  He won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals.  He earned 66 caps for England before he retired from the Three Lions in 2004.

LW: Cliff Bastin
One of the best player on the Arsenal team that dominated football in the1930's.  Arsenal won 5 league titles in the decade. He was the Arsenal all-time leading scorer from 1939 to 1997.

RW: Stanley Matthews
The only player to have been knighted while still playing, as well as being the first winner of both the European Footballer of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year awards. Sir Matthews is widely considered the greatest English player of all-time. Between 1937 and 1957 he won 54 caps for England, playing in the World Cup in 1950 and 1954, and winning nine British Home Championship titles.  He played with Stoke and Blackpool.

Sir Matthews

RW/LW: Tom Finney
He was knighted in 1998.  He was widely considered one of the greatest winger in history.  He was the FWA Footballer of the Year twice: 1954, 1957.  He played with Preston North End.

AM: Bobby Charlton
He was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time.  He led England to WC victory in 1966 and then, Manchester United to its first European Cup in 1968. He is also England's all-time leading scorer.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.

Bobby Charlton

ST/SS: Kevin Keegan 
Two-time European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979. He won the European Cup in 1977 with Liverpool. He also found successes in the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV.  However, his WC appearance was limited to 20 minutes against Spain at the WC Finals in 1982.

ST/SS: Jimmy Greaves
Top scorer in the English league for 4 seasons. He won the FA Cup in 1962 and 1967, and the UEFA Cup in 1963. He spent 9 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was a member of the World Cup winning team in 1966.  However, he lost his starting position after suffering an injury against France.

ST: Dixie Dean
He was a star player in the pre-War era,  He scored 379 goals in 438 games, 28 goals in FA Cup matches, and 18 goals in only 16 caps for the national team.  England did not participate in any major international tournament in his era.

ST: Gary Lineker 
He was one of England's best goal poachers.  He scored 48 goals for England(second overall) and won the Golden Boot with 6 goals at Mexico 1986.  He was PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1985–86 and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1985–86 and 1991–92.  In England, he played with Leicester Town, Everton and Tottenham Hotspurs.

Gary Lineker
Honorable Mention
Frank Swift, Stuart Pearce, Ray Wilson, Neil Franklin, Emlyn Hughes, Tony Adams,Terry Butcher, Jimmy Haynes, David Beckham, John Barnes, Glen Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne, Frank Lampard, Tommy Lawton, Nat Lofthouse, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer.


Squad Explanation
  • The 3rd goalkeeper was between Frank Swift and Ray Clemence.
  • Ashley Cole beat out Stuart Pearce for the backup left back.  
  • The center-back positions were the most difficult decision.  While Moore and Wright were locked starters, I had to choose between Neil Franklin, Emlyn Hughes, Sol Campbell, Tony Adams, Rio Ferdinand and Terry Butcher. I took Campbell because I needed his size and strength. Rio Ferdinand was chosen because he was probably one of the best defenders of his generation. Neil Franklin would have been on the team, but I felt that his career was cut short by his adventure in Colombia and his injuries after Colombia.
  • Paul Scholas was the biggest surprise. Jimmy Haynes and David Beckham were more famous than Paul Scholas. Frank Lampard normally started head of him for England. I took Scholas because he offered something different with his playing style. England seldom produced an advanced playmaker with such good passing ranges. I already have Gerrard, Robson and Edwards so I do not need Frank Lampard
  • Bastian was selected because I need a left wing.  No backup right wing was chosen because Finney could play on both sides. If Matthews got injured, Finney could move to the right.  John Barnes did not do enough wearing an English shirt.  So he missed out.
  • Apart from Greaves and Dean, all the options on strikers were on similar level.  I took Lineker because he was a natural goal poacher and Kevin Keegan was probably the best forward of his era.  Tommy Lawton, Nat Lofthouse and Alan Shearer were considered.
  • Wayne Rooney is the most underrated striker in England's history.  His hype as a youngster while playing for Everton might create a false expectation. He is still the all-time leading scorer for England and Manchester United. At times, he carried the national team, but the media has not always been kind to him.  They did not appreciate his contribution.  At the same time, he made some critical mistakes while playing for England.  I am referring to the red card vs Portugal in 2006 and his reaction to the fans in 2010.  That led to a lot of unfair criticisms.  However, I still could not find a spot for him.  He is still behind Keegan, Lineker, Greaves and Deane. He is probably right after them. 

Starting lineup
Formation 4-4-2
The 4-4-2 formation is associated with English football.  The lineup is very old.  Peter Shilton is the youngest player.  Bobby Charlton played in this position for Manchester United. England does not produce classic wingers liked Matthews and Finney anymore.



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