It goes without saying that David Seaman is one of the finest goalkeepers this country has ever produced. The long-haired, moustached goalie debut for England in 1988 and appeared for the national team for 15 consecutive years, he is the only goalkeeper to have achieved this. He had an amazing England career and when I think of all the saves he made it’s always that one against Germany in 2001 that comes to mind. He retired from International football in 2004 after Sven dropped him for David James. David Seaman made some incredible saves for England but what he more known for was his ability to catch anything, he could punch out and he could fall well, a goalie will often excel in some areas but never often all and Seaman was that. I was always confident to see him in goal. He had that same form in his domestic footballing career too.
I don’t think we have ever had a right back as good as Gary Neville. He is the man who every Man U fan loves, the rest of us don’t like him much have huge respect for him. Neville started playing for England from the age of 20 and was a regular member of the squad until he retired in 2007. He is the most capped right back for England and he deserves every cap. Neville was such an influential part of the back 4, he was fast and tenacious and he tactically run rings around the opposition, he worked everywhere on the pitch and still managed to defend perfectly. His is still involved with the England team now and he is vastly becoming recognised for being a great tactician.
Stuart Pearce/John Terry
I really struggled to choose between the two of these defenders. Both have been phenomenal for club and country and they also have very similar defensive styles and I think they are pretty equal in terms of career achievements and ability within the National team. Stuart Pearce is one of the most passionate players I have ever watched, he ran a pitch many times over during a game, he blocked well and he was solid, he is an out-and-out defender, no one can ever accuse him of being a player that didn’t care, he almost cared too much, we as a nation felt for Pearce after that penalty miss in Euro 96 and he was our hero none-the-less. I know many of you will be thinking why have I put John Terry here but take the personal crap out of it and look at him as a footballer and you will see that he is still one of the best defenders we have ever had. JT is a commanding sort of player, he organises a team well, he has huge passion and fire and that is demonstrated in his play, there is never a quiet game when he is playing and strikers always fear going up against him (*too many wife jokes to be entered here), he is always a defender that can score as well.
Good old Tony Adams would always be in any XI of mine. He starting playing for England in 1987 against Spain, became captain in 1992 and he received a total of 65 caps, he also managed to score 5 goals for team during his career. Tony Adams was world-class defender who hoofed a ball out of the area quicker than lightning and was a very coordinated defender, he organised a back 4 with ease and everyone knew where they were. You cannot deny that the want to play and be on the pitch for England was so visible, he really wanted to be there, you don’t see it often these days. I also think is he is possibly one of the best England captains ever.
Ashley Cole is the best left back England have ever had. He started playing for England in March 2001 only having appeared for the under-21 team 4 times. Cole’s England career has never faltered, he has been consistent throughout and has won awards such as all-star team of the tournament twice and most capped defender. The best thing about Cole is that he not only defends he attacks too, he has been a crucial part of every tournament that we have played since he started.
David Platt was a great midfielder both for the National team and club. He started playing for England in 1989 and was featured in every squad up until he retired just after Euro 96. He was capped 62 times and scored 27 goals which is pretty impressive for a midfielder. I liked David Platt because he was one of those players that just worked so hard, he had a neatness about his football, his passing was precise and he just read the game so well. His first goal for England was amazing, a volley off a Gascoigne free kick. David Platt is always known as one of England’s most consistent players.
How could any England XI not have this man in. He was one of my idols growing up and I always loved watching him play. Gazza was a huge part of the National team in Italia 90 and in Euro 96. He made his debut in 88 and had a total of 57 caps. No one will ever forget the fearless way Gazza played, he went in for those tackles that others would avoid, he was a tactical genius in midfield and always played his very best. He played good solid english football which we don’t see from our midfield much anymore.
Incey made his debut for England in 92 and received a total of 50 caps before retiring in 2000. Paul Ince was the guy that was Gazza’s main man in midfield in Euro 96 . He was the one that continuously intercepted those all important passes and fed the ball to Gascoigne. Another strong play who had a great eye for seizing a chance and running with it. He may not best the best playing individually but with the rest of this midfield he was able to play to his strengths. Despite refusing the take the penalty that Southgate missed I still think he belongs here.
This curly-haired Liverpudlian was a great player to have. I always thought he was hugely underrated both for club and country. McManaman wasn’t the most capped player for England, but in the 37 games he played England only lost 3 times. The man could run and run, his pace was amazing. But his biggest strength was that he could play practically anywhere in midfield and play well in each position. He covered Ince and Gascoigne when they moved out of position(‘Total football’) and he was one of the best for creating chances.
Lineker is one of the best English strikers of all time. He made his debut in 84 but it was in the World Cup 86 that he made his mark in the National squad. Playing most of the tournament in a cast Lineker played 5 times scored 6 goals and won the golden boot of the tournament. He is still the only English player to have done this. He was also never booked during his England career. Lineker was a graceful striker, he saw a chance and took it, more than often not he would score more goals after the first. He had a very clinical finish and it always seemed like there was incredible thought behind his goals but actually it was talent and a preciseness of taking a chance and going with it. Defenders also hated coming up against Lineker and that helped. He definitely belongs in this team.
The final man in my England XI. I honestly struggled between him and Teddy Sheringham due to the fact that they collectively worked so well together as the SAS, but I chose Shearer simply because he was a better player and scored more goals. Capped 63 times Shearer scored a total of 30 goals in his England Career. Shearer was a fantastic forward, he had incredible strength, could header a ball excellently, had a great finish but it was the power behind his goals that was the best quality. Due to his physicality he could really get behind the ball and really put all his strength into a shot, you just always knew that goal was going in.
This is all the players that I have chosen for my England XI. I haven’t gone as far back into the earlier years and picked the biggest names like Robson, Hurst, Shilton etc. I chose these players mainly because I am 30 and I wanted to do this based on the England teams that I grew up with and loved. All of the players I picked above I spent most of my childhood watching and they are the ones that stood out for me.
Feel free to comment on anything you agree or disagree on.