Viv Anderson became the first Black player to play for the English senior national team in 1978 when he lined up against Czechoslovakia in November. Less than a year later, Laurie Cunngingham made his debut and became an idol for a generation of Black footballers in England. He would become the first British player to play for Real Madrid a few months after his national team debut. In the 1980's, John Barnes become an icon at Liverpool, where he would be voted as one of the greatest ever player for Liverpool in 2006.
This is my 23 member all-time England team for Black players. I have selected an all-time team for England: here.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.African-American Players
French Black Players
GK: David JamesAt the time of writing, James is the third all-time Premier league appearance record holder. He starred for Liverpool as one of the "Spice Boys". However, his reputation suffered after a series of blunders, earning the nickname of "Calamity James". He picked up 53 caps for England. He was the starting keeper at Euro 2004 and WC 2010.
GK: Alex Williams
Williams made 125 league appearance for Manchester City in 1980's. He made the PFA Team of the Year for Division 2 in 1984-1985.
Born in Ghana, Wharton was the first Black player to turn professional in England's history. He was a part of the Preston North End team that was known as the "Invincibles". He became a professional player in 1889 when he signed with Rotherham Town.
RB: Viv Anderson
In 1978, Anderson became the first Black player to play for the senior national team. He was a part of the Nottingham Forrest team that they won the European Cup. He also played for Arsenal and Manchester United.
RB: Paul Parker
Best remembered for his stint with manchester United from 1991 to 1996. He earned 19 caps for England. He was the starting fightback for England at the WC Finals in 1990 as England had the best ever finish since 1966.
CB: Des Walker
Walker played 59 times for England. He started in all of England;'s games at the WC Finals in 1990. He was rated as one of the best defender at that Finals. For club football, he mainly played for Nottingham Forrest and Sheffield Wednesday. He played one season at Sampdoria.
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.
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: Ledley King
King spent his entire career with Tottenham Hotspurs. He was among the best defender in the Premiership during his prime, but his international career was limited by a golden generation of great English centre backs. He went to the WC finals in South Africa, but missed 2006 due to an injury.
CB: Joleon Lescott
Lescott started his career with Wolverhampton before moving to Everton. However, the peak of his career was spent at Manchester City, where Manchester City won their first Premiership in 2012. He featured for England at Euro 2012.
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/RB: Michael Thomas
He was best remembered for scoring a last-minute goal in injury time against Liverpool during the final match of the 1988-1989 season, which allowed Arsenal to claim the league title over Liverpool. In 1991, he would make a shock move to Liverpool, where he was remembered for denying Liverpool the title in 1989. He also played twice for England.
DM: Paul Ince
From 1992 to 2000, he was capped 53 times. He was a key player for England at Euro 1996, WC 1998 and Euro 2000. For his club career, he started with West Ham, but his best known stints were with Liverpool, Inter Milan and Manchester United. He is one of the few players who played and starred for both Liverpool and Manchester United.
His best club career was spent with Arsenal where he won two league titles. He was sold to Leeds United for a club record in 1992, but he never settled with the club due to injuries and other reasons. he was capped 14 times for England.
RW/FW Theo Walcott
Walcott, then 17 years old was a surpassingly named in Sven-Goran Ericsson's squad for the 2006 World Cup, despite having only made 13 appearances in senior football and none in the Premier League. He made no appearance in Germany. Fabio Capello did not take him to South Africa 2010 and an injury kept him from Brazil 2014. At the time of writing, he made 40 caps for England. Except for a loan spell, he has only played for Arsenal.
RW: Shaun Wright-Philips
He is Ian Wright's adopted son. He first made his name with Manchester City and transferred to Chelsea for 21 million pound in 2005. He also played for Queens Park Rangers. At the time of writing, he plays for New York Red Bulls. He played 36 times for England. He went to South Africa 2010.
LW: John Barnes
Barnes was widely considered to be one of the greatest Liverpool players, where he formed one of their greatest team playing alongside Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley, John Aldridge and Ray Houghton. before joining Liverpool, he played for Watford. At Watford, he also helped them to the Final of the FA Cup in 1984. He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1988 and FWA Player of the Year in both 1988 and 1990.
LW: Laurie Cunningham
Cunnugham was considered to be the first Black star player in England and an icon for a generation of Black players in England. He first made his mark with West Bromwich Albion in the late 1970's. With Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson, they formed an all-Black attack that was known as "The Three Degrees". In 1979, he moved to Real Madrid and became the first British player ever to play for the legendary club. He won the Double in his season. However, his career there was overshadowed by a series of injuries. He returned to Manchester United in 1983, but was never the same player again. He was only capped 6 times by England and was overlooked for Euro 1980, despite starring at La Liga the season before.
He broke into the Liverpool lineup as a 17 years old in 2012, where he became their star players until 2015. In the spring of 2015, he had a contract disputes with the club. He moved to Manchester City for 44 million pounds. He made his national team debut in 2012. He played at Brazil 2014. At the time of writing, he is widely considered to be England's greatest hope for the future. Liked John Barnes, he was born in Jamaica.
ST: Emile Heskey
Heskey made a name for himself when he helped Leicester Town to win the League Cup in his first professional season in 1997. In 2000, Liverpool signed him for a club record fees at the time. He left Liverpool in 2004. He played 62 times for England.
ST: Cyrille Regis
Regis formed the legendary strike force with Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at West Bromwich Albion. The strike force known as "The Three Degrees" consisted of three Black attackers and were credited to be breaking the racial barrier in England. He was the third Black player to play for England and was capped 5 times.
ST: Jermain Defoe
He started his career with West Ham, but moved to Tottenham Hotspurs in 2004 where he became a star player. Except for a year with Portsmouth, he played for them between 2004 and 2014. He was a part of England players' pool during that period, but he only went to Euro 2012 and WC 2010.
ST: Ian Wright
Wright was a legendary striker with Arsenal. Before joining Arsenal, he was a hero with Crystal Palace. At the time of writing, he was their highest goal scorer since the War. In 1991, he joined Arsenal. He spent 7 seasons with them, winning all three domestic trophies and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1994. Despite being a top scorer in the domestic league(he scored over 20 goals every season from 1991 to 1998), he only played 33 times for England and was never selected for any of the major tournaments.
Matt Murray, Andy Cole, Ashley Young, Les Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Glen Johnson, Stan Collymore, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Luther Blisset, Chris Smalling.
-- Matt Murray was highly rated, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. I chose Alex Williams over him because Williams had played in more games at the highest level.
-- Besides Ashely Cole, the team lacks another good left back. Chris Powell was considered. Instead of taking a left back, I added a fifth centerback to the team.
-- The depth of the centerback position is very deep. I could not find a spot for Wes Brown.
-- Ashley Young and Trevor Sinclair could not get into the team because Cunningham and Barnes played in the same position. Because of Viv Anderson and Paul Parker, I also left out Glen Johnson. You cannot leave out Anderson for the all-team Black English national team because he broke the racial barrier.
-- Michael Thomas was selected ahead of more famous players because there were not many midfielders available. Carlton Palmer was the other choice. Ashley Young, Les Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Glen Johnson, Stan Collymore, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Luther Blisset all played in positions with better talents available.
-- Stan Collymore's peak was too short.
-- Luther Blisset was more of a cult hero.
-- Raheem Sterling is relatively young, but he achieved enough to merit a place on the team.
-- I was debating whether to start Heskey or Defoe alongside Ian Wright. I started Heskey because Fabio Capello picked him over Defoe at the WC Finals 2010. So I went with the manager who worked with both.
-- Sterling has what it takes to become the greatest Black forward in England, but he is not ready to start at this moment.
-- Unfortunately, two of greatest Black players in England's history played on the same position. So I could start both Barnes and Cunningham.