Former England captain David Beckham hung up his boots last week to call time on a glittering career in which he appeared for England 115 times, more than any other outfield player, and won the top division in four different countries.
Beckham retires as an England legend, having spent six years as captain, leading the national team out on 58 occasions. He never retired from international duty and still harboured hopes of making a return for England until his retirement from the game on Thursday.
Despite having played with many very talented players, Becks’ team mates weren’t all as good as him. Since his debut against Moldova on September 1st 1996, nearly 17 years ago, there have been some truly baffling selections by various England managers.
Here’s the team of the worst players to debut for England since Golden Balls appeared on the scene. It’s not just a team of one-cap wonders (although there are a few), but those who consistently blighted the team for some years.
Goalkeeper: Scott Carson, caps: 3
There were a few candidate here as England spent years attempting to fully replace David Seaman, England’s custodian for the first half of Becks’ career. Will be remembered for THAT blunder against Croatia that cost England a place at Euro 2008, their lowest ebb of the last decade.
Right-back: Danny Mills, caps: 18
Was Gary Neville’s understudy at right back between 2001 and 2004, including an unspectacular 2002 World Cup.
Centre-back: Zat Knight, caps: 2
Two appearances on a summer tour to the USA in 2005 get Knight into this team. Now plying his trade in the championship with Bolton.
Centre-back: Anthony Gardner, caps: 1
The first of our one-cap wonders. Broke through at Tottenham at a similar time to Ledley King, but enjoyed a far less successful career. Best described as looking about as in control of his limbs as a new-born foal. Capped once in 2004.
Left-back: Paul Konchesky, caps: 2
Plenty of choice here, because until Ashley Cole turned up in 2001, England tried the likes of Michael Ball, Andy Hinchcliffe and Michael Gray to try to solve their left back quandary. Konchesky is a contemporary of Cole’s but has just 2 caps to his name. One of Roy Hodgson’s favourites at Fulham and the Liverpool, it is something of a surprise that their hasn’t been a re-call for the baldest man in England.
Right-midfield: Trevor Sinclair, caps: 12
The position Becks made his own is to be filled by the slightly less illustrious Trevor Sinclair. A last minute injury replacement for Danny Murphy at the 2002 World Cup.
Centre-midfield: Jermaine Jenas, caps: 21
The QPR man has been capped 21 times and made his debut in the famous defeat to Australia in 2003, the nadir of Sven Goran Eriksson’s reign as manager.
Centre-midfield: Seth Johnson, caps: 1
Leeds paid £7m for this chap in 2001, the year after his sole England appearance against Italy. Released by Derby aged 29 in 2007 and hasn’t played since.
Left-midfield: Steve Guppy, caps: 1
England quite literally had no decent left sided players in the late 90s and early 2000s. Hence why the Leicester City man got the call-up. Pushed close by Stewart Downing
Striker: Darius Vassell, caps 22
Appeared at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, where he is remembered for his shoot out miss against Portugal.
Stiker: David Nugent, caps 1
So many choices to partner Vassell: Nugent, Francis Jeffers, Michael Ricketts. It just has to be Nugent though for the audacity of stealing Jermaine Defoe’s goal on the line, in the 93rd minute against Andorra in 2007. The cheek of it.
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