England World Cup Dream Team
Millions of England fans are hoping that their stars will shine during this year’s tournament in Russia. Despite the level of talent in the current lineup, how does it compare to past England legends?
Would Lingard beat Lineker to a place in England’s all-time dream team? Would the hero of the 1966 final, Sir Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick, be enough to claim a starting role up front? To answer these questions and more, we asked former England striker Alan Shearer to put together his very own ultimate World Cup XI…
Alan Shearer’s Ultimate World Cup XI
Manager – Sir Bobby Robson – Obviously Sir Alf Ramsey led England to World Cup glory in 1966, but having played under Sir Bobby, he’d be my choice to manage this all-time England XI.
With some legendary names on the list of contenders, competition for goalkeeper is tough. Peter Shilton, Gordon Banks, Ray Clemence, and David Seaman would all be in with a shout considering their combined total of more than 300 international caps between them. They certainly set a high bar for today’s hopefuls, Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, and Nick Pope!
GK – Gordon Banks – This was a tough one because I grew up watching Peter Shilton and I played with David Seaman, and both were top class ‘keepers.
However, I have gone for a World Cup winner in Gordon Banks, a man still famous for THAT save against Pele in Mexico 1970.
England defenders have created some iconic images over the years, from Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy in front of the Wembley crowd to a blood-soaked Terry Butcher in Sweden. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of players the likes of John Stones and Kyle Walker need to get passed to make the cut!
D – Phil Neal – George Cohen obviously won the World Cup, and Gary Neville won it all with Manchester United and formed a great partnership with David Beckham. But I’m going with Phil Neal, an excellent and underrated player who won the European Cup four times with Liverpool.
Unfortunately, he did not play in a great England team, but he really could play the game and deserves his place in this XI.
D – Ashley Cole – Not many forwards got the better of Ashley so I favour him ahead of the likes of Stuart Pearce, Ray Wilson and Kenny Sansom. He had pace, got forward well, and most importantly, was a great defender.
D – Bobby Moore (Cpt) – Captain, leader and World Cup winner. There is nothing more that needs adding to that.
D – Tony Adams – Tony was the toughest opponent that I played against. He was a great leader and an excellent defender, and alongside Bobby Moore would complete a formidable centre-back pairing.
Arguably the most competitive position on the park, the midfield demands the right balance of creativity and grit. It’s something that England hope Spurs duo Dele Alli and Eric Dier will provide, but do they have enough to claim a spot?
David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, and Sir Bobby Charlton would be amongst the contenders with more than 300 caps and 87 international goals between them, but many would argue for Gazza, Bryan Robson, Nobby Stiles, John Barnes, and many more.
M – Bryan Robson – I played against Bryan a few times when I was coming into the game and I had watched him for a numbers of years before that. He was hard as nails and he had an unbelievable amount of quality.
M – Paul Gascoigne – Gazza was the best player I have ever played with, so he simply has to be in the team.
M – Glenn Hoddle – Even today, Glenn could still be one of the best passers England have. When he was England manager, he made me his captain, but that isn’t why I’ve chosen him here! He is a class act who could just spray passes across the pitch for fun.
M – Sir Bobby Charlton – Just like Bobby Moore, he is one of the greatest players England has ever produced. He was integral to our World Cup win and he had an unbelievable career for club and country.
Centre forward for England – every school-kid’s dream! England captain Harry Kane takes on that role going into the World Cup, and he’ll be aiming for the Golden Boot in Russia. However, he may miss the cut for this list due to his fledgling international career.
With only two spots remaining in the XI, there are sure to be some big names left out. Wayne Rooney – the most capped outfield player – has 53 international goals but only a single strike coming in the World Cup finals (vs Uruguay 2014). Gary Lineker, who has 10 World Cup final goals, won the Golden Boot in Mexico ‘86.
The aforementioned Sir Geoff Hurst’s goals secured England’s only trophy in ‘66 after replacing the prolific Jimmy Greaves due to injury. And there is of course there is Shearer himself, who boasts an impressive record of 30 goals in 63 games, including two goals in four World Cup final games!
F – Jimmy Greaves – I only watched videos of him, but his stats on goals per game are incredible. I know he missed out through injury in the World Cup final, but he was some goalscorer for England.
F – Alan Shearer – If I am allowed to pick myself, I will! The reason: I’d absolutely love to play with this team. There’s so much quality that they’d create chances galore for a centre forward.
And if I don’t play, then Gary Lineker would have to, and we can’t have that!
You can tell I’m a forward as I’ve gone for an extremely attacking bench!
It was a tough call picking this team because I have left out the likes of Kevin Keegan, who was my hero, plus Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, but I simply could not include them all.
Shearer’s team has some of the greatest players ever to wear an England shirt. However, from his selection, the last to receive a cap was Ashley Cole back in 2014. Perhaps a win in this year’s tournament will throw this generation into the mix! Don’t forget you can see all the latest prices on the current England squad here.