At the old Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1966, Bobby Moore captained England to a 4-2 victory over West Germany. While the win remains the only major triumph for the country that claims to be the birthplace of football, England has had many legendary leaders.
Following the 20th anniversary of Moore’s death, GiveMeFootball takes a look at the five best players to ever don the captain’s armband for the Three Lions.
Arguably England’s most famous skipper, Bobby Moore was the longtime West Ham player who made his debut for the senior national team in 1962. Moore alongside England teammates Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, led the Hammers to FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup successes prior to the 1966 World Cup.
Moore guided Alf Ramsey’s England side seamlessly through the group stages before the host nation controversially overcame Argentina in the quarter-finals and a Eusebio-led Portugal squad in the semi-finals.
The final is remembered for Hurst’s hat-trick, the only hat-trick in a World Cup final, and for one of his goals seemingly not crossing the line, but it was Moore who became a national icon.
Pele cited Moore as the best defender he ever played against and in 1973 Moore reached a milestone of captaining England on 90 occasions. On February 24, 1993 after a long battle with bowel cancer, Moore died at age 51.
Before Bobby Moore captained England to success at the World Cup, Wright was the long-time leader of the Three Lions.
At the club level, Wright played his whole career at Wolves, winning three First Division titles and an FA Cup medal.
He made his debut for England in 1946 in a 7-2 defeat of Ireland and became England skipper in 1948. Four years later, he became England’s most capped player, surpassing Bob Crompton’s record of 41 appearances.
Wright also became the first player in the world to earn over 100 full international caps. In 1957 he was runner up to Real Madrid star Alfredo Di Stefano for the Ballon d’Or and after retiring from football in 1959 he became Arsenal manager in 1962.
Wright died of pancreatic cancer in 1994.
Robson started his career in the youth setup at West Bromwich Albion, making his debut for the senior side in 1974 before going on to represent the West Midlands club over 200 times.
He made his England debut on February 6, 1980 in a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at Wembley. A year later, he moved to Manchester United on a British record transfer fee of £1.5 million.
Robson was an ever present in the United squads throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s, becoming the longest serving captain in the club’s storied history, whom he captained to three FA Cups and a Cup Winners’ Cup.
The midfielder was nicknamed Captain Marvel by the English press and won 90 caps for England, captaining the side on 65 of those appearances.
From 2009-11 he was the manager of the Thailand national football team and now works as the global ambassador for former club Manchester United.
Although never far from controversy, John Terry has always been a model of consistency on the pitch.
Terry retired from international football last September but won 72 caps for England and skippered the side on over 30 occasions.
At the club level, Terry has been club captain of Chelsea since Marcel Desailly’s retirement from football in the summer of 2004.
Terry featured in two European Championships and two World Cups for England, being included in the team of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Controversy finally caught up with Terry over allegations of racist abuse towards Anton Ferdinand in a league match between Chelsea and QPR and Terry was stripped of his captaincy in February 2012. England manager Fabio Capello resigned as a result.
Current manager Roy Hodgson named Terry in his squad for Euro 2012, where England fell in penalty kicks in the quarter-finals to runners-up Italy.
Perhaps a controversial inclusion over Liverpool teammate Kevin Keegan, Hughes made his debut for England in 1969 and wore the captain’s armband for the first time in March 1974.
Hughes was England skipper on 23 occasions but famously never featured at a World Cup for the Three Lions, failing to make it off the bench for England at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
He was named Liverpool captain by Bill Shankly and remained the club’s skipper under the guidance of Bob Paisley. As captain, Hughes led the Merseyside club three league titles, an FA Cup success, two European Cups and a UEFA Cup.
After Hughes was dropped from the England squad by manager Don Revie for the 1976 European Championship qualifiers, Revie brought him back for the 1978 World Cup qualifying campaign and was reinstated as England skipper although the Three Lions failed to make it to the finals.
Hughes died of cancer in 2004 and currently sits tied in third place with Ray Clemence on 665 appearances for Liverpool, all of which were starts.
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