Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughEngland's greatest footballer? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough England's greatest footballer? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

England’s greatest footballer?

With the recent anniversary of Sir Bobby Moore’s death, I thought I would think about the greatest English player to play the game, but as per usual, it’s a matter of opinion and no definitive answer will ever be reached because someone will always challenge another persons answer, but I shall give a look at the more mentioned players and let you lot decide for yourselves.

I can safely say that in the current England squad, we only have one genuine world class player, that being Ashley Cole. (Maybe Gerrard in his later years but far too sketchy for years for England in my opinion.) I feel that he is the only player in our current XI who could walk into another international team as a starter, and with his 100th cap being recently won, it will be a landmark for such a brilliant left-back, even though he became the first player in England history to reach 100 games and not score a single goal, that’s an achievement in itself. So in my opinion, people of my generation have missed seeing England’s greatest by some years.

Now, for Paul Scholes, who has won countless trophies and individual honours at club level but during his international stint was often shipped out-wide on the left. I know Scholes is a brilliant passer and can deliver a ball like no other but he’s hardly pacey enough to get up and down the pitch is he? Also, his comical tackling is not going to provide his full-backs with a lot of help, albeit, I have not seen a player receive such compliments as he does from fellow professionals, but with his incredible club record eclipsing his international career, it will be hard to say he is the greatest package for England.

Moving on, David Beckham, who I feel is the greatest England player I’ve seen during my lifetime, with 6 Premier League titles, 2 FA cups, 1 La Liga title and the Champions League, whilst playing for Milan, Real Madrid and of course, Manchester United, he is probably one of two England players (The other being El Maca) who has ever achieved something of notable recognition abroad and been held as a serious world class player? Runner up of the FIFA player of the year twice is not to shake a stick at.

Beckham was the first English player to reach a 100 games in the CL and our most capped outfield player, even though in his later years, it was largely strung out substitution appearances just so he could take the record but the free kick against Greece made up for that. (I’m kidding, but it nearly did.)

The tale of two Bobs, Charlton & Moore, I could dedicate an entire post written about these two but I’ll condense it down a tad. Moore, born in 1941, was dubbed the best defender Pele has ever played against, if that isn’t recognition itself then i do not know what is? Maybe a World Cup victory. Oh, wait.

Moore was out of contract at West Ham, meaning he was ineligible to play in the tournament, until Sir Alf Ramsey stepped in and got Moore & Ron Greenwood, the then manager of West Ham to hash out a month extension Moore’s West Ham contract. Ramsey knew his youngest ever captain would deliver the goods.

George Cohen, the England left back at the time overheard Sir Ramsey say he was contemplating dropping Moore for the final due to his mediocre performance in the tournament so far and replacing him with Norman “bite yer legs” Hunter, but to his credit, Moore remained the captain and centre back for England and picked out a cultured 40 yard pass to Geoff Hurst’s feet before he scored the 4th goal in the game for England, this was also his hat trick goal and Hurst remains the only player to score 3 goals in a World Cup final, In my eyes, Hurst should be mentioned in the same breath as the other England greats.

Bobby Charlton, born in 1937 played and captained in the first European Cup victory in 1968 for Manchester United, but, no one would of blamed him if he never reached the dazzling heights it did due to the Munich air disaster of 1958 where he saw a huge amount of his team and his coaching staff die in a plane crash as they travelled back from an away game in their Europe campaign. He had the United team built around him and in 1965, he won the league title but arguably his greatest achievement in his personal career, is the ’66 world cup win, albeit, he was outshone by an in-form Geoff Hurst. Charlton was being marked by Franz Beckenbauer who was in his Libero role and Charlton was instructed to keep him as quiet as possible and vice-versa. With 748 appearances and 249 goals for United and England’s top goal scorer, plus being an integral part of the “holy trinity” midfield for United, he should seriously be a contender for one of our greatest.

Here he is, Gordon Banks, voted the 2nd best goalkeeper of the 20th century behind Lev Yashin and ahead of Dino Zoff. He was the number 1 keeper during the ’66 campaign and every Englishman knows the story, we won 4-2 after extra time, I’ve mentioned it enough during this piece alone. Before the semi-final kicked off, Banks used to partake in his routine of making his gloves stickier with chewing gum but with Harold Shepherdson forgetting to buy some, he had to run to a news agent before the game against Eusebio’s Portugal. England went two nil up before Jack Charlton handled the ball in the area to grant Portugal a lifeline which Eusebio duly dispatched but England held on and proceeded to the final and we all know what happened next. Instead of the final, I want to talk about the 1970 World Cup, the 7th of June, England faced Pele’s and Jairzinho’s Brazil.

The two Brazil boys i have just mentioned linked when Jairzinho boxed the ball after latching onto a Alberto slip past the full-back onto an awaiting Pele’s head which he steered into the bottom right hand corner, with arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest player in history shouting “Golo!” as he watched it fly towards the back of the net, it must of been pretty, bloody good. The ball bounced two yards in front of the goal-line, and Banks managed to make contact with the ball with the fingers of his right hand, and rolled his hand slightly to angle to ball over the crossbar, he landed in the net and only knew he saved it from Pele’s reaction, which then led to this interchange between 3 of the greatest players of the time.

“I thought that was a goal.” (Pelé)

“You and me both.” (Banks)

“You’re getting old, Banksy, you used to hold on to them.” (Bobby Moore)

Dubbed as the greatest save of all time, i thought it was worth mentioning.

There are many more i could mention, Sir Tom Finney, Lineker, Shearer, Beardsley, Keegan and Gascoigne to mention just a few. I don’t know who my greatest of all time is, there’s too many to choose from and someone will always trump my suggestion, but it was worth a go, ey?

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