Rooney, Beckham, Gascoigne: England's three greatest starting XIs in history

  • Kobe Tong

England have produced some of the greatest football players in history.

While the land of the Three Lions might not have produced a Ballon d'Or winner since Michael Owen in 2001, there's no denying that the England national team has always been rich with talent.

After all, the so-called 'Golden Generation' is the perfect example because although they might not have secured a major honour, we can all agree that the dressing room was stacked with ability.

England's footballing pedigree

Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Owen are just a few case studies of world-class players who donned the white jersey of England whenever an international break came around.

However, while our exemplar England quartet might be up to their ears in talent, they have all have one thing in common and that's missing out on their country's greatest ever starting XIs.

'Greatest ever what now?' we hear you ask and fear not, dear reader, because we have all the answers and it comes in the form of a fascinating walk through every nation in world football.

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IFFHS pick England's greatest line-ups

Over the last few weeks, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has started working through every country alphabetically and named their greatest ever male XI.

Now it's the turn of England with IFFHS naming what they call the 'All Time England Men's Dream Team', which has even been accompanied with a Team B and Team C to boot.

And yes, the competition really is so tough that Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes don't make the third-string XI with IFFHS doing an admirable job of covering every era of the England national team.

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England's greatest starting XIs

So, without further ado, be sure to check out the three England line-ups down below:

'Dream Team'

Gordon Banks, Jimmy Armfield, Bobby Moore, Billy Wright, Ashley Cole, Bryan Robson, Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves and Tom Finney


B Team

Peter Shilton, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Tony Adams, Ray Wilson, Duncan Edwards, Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle, Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan and John Barnes


C Team

Frank Swift, Phil Neal, Terry Butcher, John Terry, Eddie Hapgood, David Beckham, Glenn Hoddle, Johnny Haynes, Martin Peters, Tommy Lawton and Wayne Rooney


No Gerrard, Lampard or Scholes

Wowsers. You know the competition is tough when England's greatest ever goalscorer and the only player to score at three World Cups for the nation are forced to settle for a place in the C Team.

However, when you look at World Cup winners like Banks and Moore populating the 'Dream Team' along with Ballon d'Or winners Charlton and Matthews, it becomes a little more understandable.

That being said, you have to wonder how long it will take Harry Kane to penetrate these line-ups now that he's England's greatest ever goalscorer at international tournaments.


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Marry that to the inevitability that he will surpass Rooney's goals record for England and perhaps there is hope for fans a little bewildered by the 'Dream Team' that more modern players will make it.

Either way, though, let it serve to demonstrate that English football, while by no means perfect, has produced some darn good players over the last century or so.



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