SPORTbible's All-Time England XI: Gascoigne Over Gerrard, Lineker Over Shearer And No Room For Rio
England's 7-0 win against Montenegro on Thursday night was their 1000th international game. Such a landmark begs the question, who makes up an all time XI for the Three Lions?
Many greats have donned the England kit, though only eleven players have played in a World Cup final. That though doesn't mean the all time team is just made up of 1966's World Cup winners.
We decided to go for a 3-5-2 formation because most of England's best sides played without wingers with Alf Ramsey's '66 side known as the 'Wingless Wonders'.
The Jules Rimet winners weren't the only ones though, with Bobby Robson and Terry Venables reaching the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 respectively with five at the back.
Glenn Hoddle's side in 1998 might have been knocked out in the second round but they played an entertaining brand of football with the system and finally Gareth Southgate's team reached England's third World Cup semi with a 5-3-2 too.
Now for the selections:
England's World Cup winning keeper is regarded as one of the best ever in the game and his incredible save from Pele's header in the 1970 World Cup is worth entry into this team alone.
On this day in 1970 Gordon Banks produced this stunning save to deny Pele! #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/pXApEncb9H
- 90s Football (@90sfootball) June 7, 2018
England's most capped right back was far better than the competition for his position for most of his 10 years with the national side. Won everything with Manchester United and his marauding style would suit the system.
There's plenty of leadership in the team but as World Cup winning captain the armband has to go to Moore. One of the best centre backs ever. On Moore's death Pele said, ""He was my friend as well as the greatest defender I ever played against. The world has lost one of its greatest football players and an honourable gentleman," quite the endorsement.
34 caps as England captain, 78 in all, Terry was named as part of the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006, despite a pretty poor tournament for Sven Goran Erikson's team. Terry is one of the best defenders of the Premier League era.
The image of Butcher and his head wound wrapped up is iconic and a real symbol of the defender's determination and drive. Played in three World Cups for the Three Lions.
#WorldCup qualifying can produce some iconic moments :camera_with_flash:
30 years ago, :flag_black:@England captain Terry Butcher fought on despite a head wound to earn a key point in Stockholm to all but seal their place at :flag_it:Italy 1990.#OnThisDay ' #WCQ pic.twitter.com/Db33zyEfcX
- FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 6, 2019
In the modern era one of few England players to be considered the best in the world in his position. Cole is England's most capped fullback and another who suits the system perfectly.
Captain Marvel had it all as a midfielder, going forward and, perhaps more importantly for this team, in defence. He earned 90 caps for the national side and was consistently one of the best players in the team and would have earned more caps if it weren't for injuries.
There's a reason ludicrously talented young England players, like Ravel Morrison, get described at the 'most talented English player since Gazza' and that's because no one's come close to the magic the maverick could produce on the pitch. Performances at the 1990 World Cup and that goal vs Scotland at Euro 96 make him well worth his place.
England and Manchester United's second all time top goalscorer and from midfield! World Cup, Golden Ball and Ballon d'Or winner in 1966. He possessed one of the greatest long range strikes of all time. Charlton is one of two Englishmen, along with Moore to make it into FIFA's All Time World Cup team in 1994.
England's top scorer at World Cups and the winner of the Golden Boot in 1986. Lineker would almost certainly have surpassed Charlton's scoring record if it weren't for Graham Taylor. He also shat on the pitch once.
Possibly not the most popular choice but it's almost impossible to leave out England's all time top scorer. Played in a period when the Three Lions failed to have the impact at tournaments they should have, that is partially down to 'Wazza' but he was also a victim of a team underperforming. Mellowed with the armband.
Peter Shilton - England's all time cap winner and one of the best keepers of his generation.
George Cohen - World Cup winning full back.
Billy Wright - Captained England a record 90 times and played in most consecutive international games ever.
David Beckham - One of the greatest crossers of the ball and always played his best for Three Lions.
Steven Gerrard - Couldn't include him with Lampard obviously but one of England's most talented players.
Geoff Hurst - Maybe not one of England's very best but replaced Jimmy Greaves for the '66 World Cup and scored the hat-trick in the final, a man for the biggest occasion.
Michael Owen - Ballon d'Or winner Owen just edges out former teammate Shearer. A hat-trick against Germany in the 5-1 and that goal against Argentina plus his better dedication to the national side earn him a spot on the bench.