10 Best English Footballers of all Time
England's national football team are one of the most successful International teams in history, owing largely to their 1966 World Cup success at the Old Wembley Stadium when they defeated their rivals, West Germany 4-2 after Extra Time.
England were one of the very first national teams established, alongside Scotland in 1872. They participated in the first ever International match versus Scotland that same year.
Alongside their sole World Cup success, they reached the Semi-Finals of the inaugural European Championships in 1968 and 1996, as well as reaching the final four of the World Cup on two further occasions in 1990 and 2018.
England were the most successful team in the now-defunct Home Nations tournament that took place between 1884 and 1984. England won 54 titles in the 100-year history of the competition.
After a long period of underachievement, England's run to the semifinals in the 2018 World Cup has been followed by reaching the Semi-Finals of the first ever Nations League tournament in which they are to take on the Netherlands on June 6, 2019.
Despite long periods of limited success, the England national team has produced a number of world class players who have all played at the peak level of European and International Football. Names such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Kevin Keegan have all lit up European and International Football though none of those names ever lifted an International trophy. Peter Shilton is England's most capped player with 125 caps and Wayne Rooney is his country's all time highest goal scorer with 53 goals.
The 1966 England team yielded several all time great English players that have achieved immortality.
This slideshow looks at the 10 greatest England players of all time.
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#10 Paul Gascoigne (1988-98)
Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne's England career began on September 14, 1988 in a friendly versus Denmark as a late substitute for Peter Beardsley.
His first goal for his country came in a 5-0 drubbing of Albania at Wembley in April 1989.
However, "Gazza's" most memorable performances for England came during the 1990 World Cup.
Gascoigne's intelligence shone at Italia '90 as he assisted goals versus Egypt in the group stage, lobbed a beautiful free kick for David Platt to volley home the winner in the first knockout stage versus Belgium and also played a delightful through ball for Gary Lineker in the Quarter Final, which proved to be decisive. As Lineker latched on to the pass, he was fouled and subsequently dispatched the match-winning penalty.
It was during the Semi-Final versus West Germany that "Gazza" achieved worldwide fame. With the score 1-1, he accidentally tripped Thomas Berthold earning a yellow card. Having also been booked in the Second Round versus Belgium, this meant that Gascoigne would have been suspended for the World Cup Final had England got there.
Upset, "Gazza" burst into tears, endearing himself to millions.
England boss, Sir Bobby Robson, resigned after the tournament and new manager, Gordon Taylor dropped Gascoigne from the starting line-up. Shortly afterwards, Gascoigne suffered torn cruciate ligaments and was ruled out of Euro 1992.
When he returned from injury, he was restored to the starting line-up but could not prevent England from failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.
Football came home at Euro 1996 and "Gazza" lit up the tournament with several impressive performances, most notably versus Scotland when he lobbed the ball over Colin Hendry's head and volleyed past Andy Goram in the Scotland goal. Gascoigne helped England reach the Semi-Finals where he came within a whisker of sending his country to the Final, but his outstretched leg could not quite meet Alan Shearer's cross, in which any contact would have earned the Golden Goal necessary to send England through.
Following Euro 1996, Terry Venables was replaced by Glenn Hoddle as England manager and Hoddle kept faith with the ageing Gascoigne in the centre of his midfield.
Gascoigne played a key role during the qualification process scoring and assisting goals on a regular basis and seemed assured of a starting role at the World Cup Finals in France. However, shortly before the squads were due to be announced, "Gazza" was photographed eating Kebabs on a night out. The ensuing fall out, amidst concerns over Gascoigne's fitness levels led to him not being included in England's 1998 World Cup squad. He would never play for his country again.
It was a sad end to a brilliant international career that came very close to seeing his country achieve World and European success.