The post below, on the most iconic English footballers of all time, was written BEFORE England’s ignoble exit from the World Cup.
At the time of writing our hopes were high. But right now the inclusion of any of the current crop in a top ten list of iconic England players seems like optimistic folly. So I’m giving Steven Gerrard the red card – he’s officially out of my top ten list after heading Louis Saurez through to score for Uruguay and effectively end our chances.
Anyway here’s what I thought last week…
We are counting down to tonight’s crucial England vs Uruguay World Cup clash with a quick and unscientific office poll of the most iconic England footballers of all time.
We’d love to know if you agree or disagree – leave a comment below or email hello@LondonPR.co.uk
Here we go in reverse order:
10. Kevin Keegan 63 caps
Better known as a manager these days, Keegan was a footballing icon to any English boy who grew up in the 1970s. He never really shone on the biggest stage but deserves a place in our list for his seventies perm alone.
9. Gordon Banks 73 caps
The only English goalkeeper to play in a World Cup final, Gordon Banks was our last line of defence in 1966 and conceded only three goals in the entire tournament. Despite some other iconic goalies down the years – special mention to Peter Shilton – there really can be no contest when it comes to naming our best goalie ever.
Fun fact: Banks used to chew gum before a game and then roll the chewed gum in his gloves to help them stick to the ball.
8. Steven Gerrard 113 caps
UPDATE: NOW REMOVED FROM OUR LIST ON ACCOUNT OF HIS BLUNDER IN THE URUGUAY GAME.
The only member of the current England team deserving of icon status is captain Gerrard (hey, if our boys can do the business in Brazil we may be putting together a very different list next month). Gerrard exudes passion for both club and country and of course we are all hoping he’ll lead the team to victory tonight. Just one thing though Stevie, don’t slip on the grass like you did for Liverpool against Chelsea.
7. Bobby Charlton 106 caps
Almost as famous for his bizarre comb over as he is for his football, Bobby Charlton was a towering presence for Manchester United and England during the 1960s and remains our highest ever goalscorer with 49 balls in the back of the net. Not only that but he also survived the Munich air disaster. An amazing footballing icon by any standards.
6. Stuart Pearce 78 caps
The only defender on our list, Pearce missed his penalty during England’s semi final clash against old enemy Germany in Italia 90 but came back fighting with his infamous grimace when we hosted Euro 96. Affectionately known as Psycho for his undoubted determination and commitment Pearce came to represent the true spirit of England for many fans.
5. Gary Lineker 80 caps
Another veteran of Italia 90 – when England came agonizingly close to a second World Cup triumph – Lineker is now known to a generation of young fans as ‘that bloke off Match of the Day and the crisps adverts’. Yet he was a prolific goalscorer in his day and remains the only Englishman to win the World Cup Golden Boot. He was also a famously clean player and was never booked during his career which only adds to his all round Mr Nice-guy image – a definite English icon.
4. Paul Gascoigne 57 caps
The third player on our list from England’s 1990 squad, Gazza became the most famous face of the tournament after he sobbed his way through the semi final against Germany.
More recently his well documented personal problems and battles with addiction have seen him make headlines for less iconic reasons but despite his flaws for many he’ll always be the ‘daft as a brush’ Geordie lad who came back to England sporting a pair of fake comedy boobs. And lets not forget he was a genius on the pitch before injury cut short his career. Possibly the most naturally gifted player England has ever produced.
3. Geoff Hurst 49 caps
Any list of iconic English footballers wouldn’t be complete without the player who scored the only hat trick ever in a World Cup final. Arise Sir Geoff Hurst.
Strange to think that Hurst went into the 1966 tournament as second pick to star striker Jimmy Greaves. Fate, of course, had other plans.
2. David Beckham 115 caps
Modern footballing icons don’t come any bigger than David Beckham. On the international stage the England teams he played in hardly set the world on fire yet Beckham himself always played with nothing less than 100% commitment.
1. Bobby Moore 108 caps
Still the only Englishman ever to hold aloft the World Cup. It may be 48 years ago now but Bobby Moore in his red jersey with the golden trophy in his hand is still our most iconic footballing moment ever. Here’s hoping we can do it again soon. Come on England!
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