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Best English Football Team: We Ask Sir Bobby Charlton

England’s second all-time top goalscorer and one of the most popular players to ever wear the Three Lions, Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton picks his best English football team for the ultimate all-time England line-up.

There are few people in world soccer, let alone the English game, who carry the amount of respect Sir Bobby Charlton does. Having survived the Munich Air Crash, Charlton helped inspire Manchester United to the European Cup and England to the World Cup.

Along the way, records tumbled – he played for Manchester United for 606 appearances and scored 49 goals for England. Crucially, he was loved for his gentlemanly conduct on the pitch – not to mention his ferocious shot and comb-over hairstyle.

sir bobby charlton hold the world cup trophy above his head

Although Sir Bobby shared in the glory of 1966 and named five players from Sir Alf Ramsey’s World Cup squad – Banks, Wilson, Moore, Armfield and Greaves – in his best English football team, there is also room in the team for a recently modern superstar.

“Michael Owen was a tremendous player and I would have been delighted to play alongside him,” says Sir Bobby. Besides being a gifted player, he was a level-headed person who handles the fame and pressure very well.”

“He was named European Player of the Year and there aren’t many Englishmen who have achieved that. I first saw him play as a 16-year-old and it was obvious then he was a great talent. He has gone onto prove it.”

Among Sir Bobby’s team, Duncan Edwards may well be the most poignant pick, as he perished in the Munich air crash at the age of 21.

“It’s hard for me to describe just how extraordinary he was,”Sir Bobby says. “In the history of Manchester United and English football, his death was the biggest single tragedy. In my eyes, I could compete with any player – except Duncan. He was such an exceptional player that I always felt inferior to him. His game was flawless.”

Sir Bobby Charlton’s Best English Football Team

Goalkeeper – Gordon Banks (1963-72) 73 caps, 0 goals

Won the World Cup in 1966 but is perhaps even better known for a save he made four years later against Pele in Mexico. He kept 35 clean sheets for England and might have won more caps but for a car accident which saw him lose sight in one eye.

jimmy armfield walking the england team out in wembley

Right back – Jimmy Armfield (1959-66) 43 caps, 0 goals

An elegant defender who could use the ball, Armfield was a loyal one-club man with Blackpool who went to the 1962 World Cup and was also a member of the 1966 squad as understudy to George Cohen. Fans still hear him as a Radio 5 commentator.

Central defender – Bobby Moore (1962-73) 108 caps, 2 goals

Moore won three major cup competitions at Wembley in successive years, the FA Cup in 1964 with West Ham, Cup-Winners Cup in ’65, and then the World Cup the following year. Tragically died of cancer in 1993 and the age of 51.

billy wright leading the england team out in wembley

Central defender – Billy Wright (1947-59) 105 caps, 3 goals

The first name on the England team sheet for more than a decade, Wright made history by becoming the first international to pass the magic 100 caps. His marriage to pop star Joy Beverley of The Beverley Sisters was the 1950s equivalent to Posh & Beck’s.

Left back – Ray Wilson (1960-68) 63 caps, 0 goals

One of Sir Alf Ramsey’s heroes of ’66, Wilson oozed class and had been a Wembley winner two months before the World Cup – with Everton in the FA Cup. Started his career as a forward which explains why he usually looked comfortable on the ball.

sir stanley matthews playing for england

Winger – Stanley Matthews (1934-57) 54 caps, 11 goals

Football’s first knight, Sir Stan was known as the Wizard of the Dribble and was famous in all four corners of the globe before the advent of color television, let alone the internet. As a teenager, he helped England beat World Cup holders Italy and he went on to become his country’s oldest international at the age of 42.

Midfield – Johnny Haynes (1955-62) 56 caps, 18 goals

Johhny Haynes played with Sir Bobby at Fulham and was regarded as the best passer of his generation. Fulham valued him highly and after the maximum wage was abolished in the early 1960s, Haynes became the game’s first £100-a-week footballer.

duncan edwards playing for england

Midfield – Duncan Edwards (1955-57) 18 caps, 5 goals

Many shrewd judges believed Edwards was destined to be England’s best-ever player when he was tragically killed in Munich at the age of 21. He combined power with skill and was the greatest of Manchester United’s Busby Babes, happy in several positions.

Winger – Tom Finney (1947-59) 76 caps, 30 goals

No lesser an authority than Bill Shankly regarded Finney as the best player he had ever seen. For a wide player, his goalscoring record was phenomenal. Nicknamed The Preston Plumber, he was twice voted Footballer of the Year in 1954 and 1957.

jimmy greaves scoring for england

Striker – Jimmy Greaves (1959-67) 57 caps, 44 goals

The most-natural finisher of them all, Greaves scored on his debut for every team he played and England was no exception – scoring in a 4-1 defeat in Lima against Peru. Played in the 1962 World Cup but injury cruelly saw him replaced by Roger Hunt midway through the 1966 tournament.

Striker – Michael Owen (1998-2008 ) 89 caps, 40 goals

Burst onto the scene at 18 with a World Cup classic strike against Argentina and has been the first-choice attacker ever since. Scored in l World Cup quarter-final v Brazil. Only Englishman to have scored in four major tournaments.

One Of The Greatest

We thank Sir Bobby Charlton for sitting down with the History Of Soccer team to discuss the Best English Football Team.

Considered as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, he must be in the best English football team for his ferocious long-range shots and passing ability from central midfield, he is noteworthy for his attacking instincts and amazing fitness.

However, the modest and inspiring Charlton was never going to select himself.

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