Today, the nation will come to a halt for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, after the 70-year monarch passed away on 8th September 2022, at the age of 96.
Over those 70 years as Queen, English Sport has gone from strength to strength, with Her Majesty’s late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip being known for being an enthusiastic Sportsman.
Football has especially been a prominent part of the country’s sporting interest during the Queen’s reign, with England famously winning the 1966 FIFA World Cup, in arguably the nation’s finest sporting moment.
After such touching scenes seen at grounds over the weekend as players, fans and coaching staff paid respects to her majesty, we formed our best ever England XI based on players that had the pleasure of playing under Her Majesty’s reign.
GK – Gordon Banks
England have been blessed with a plethora of top-class goalkeepers over the years, including that of Peter Shilton, and David Seaman, but the only English goalkeeper to play (and win) in a World Cup Final has to be our number one.
Banks lifted the World Cup with England in 1966 after that iconic 4-2 win over West Germany, whilst his save in the same tournament four years later from Brazil legend Pele has been regarded as one of the greatest saves of all time.
RB – Gary Neville
A product of Manchester United’s class of 92 team, Neville proved to be a solid servant for his country, winning 85 caps over a 12 year international career.
Despite being a solid performer for the Three Lions, the Bury-born full-back could never match his club trophy haul on the international stage.
CB – Bobby Moore
Without a doubt the most important and iconic player in the history of the English national team.
England’s only ever World Cup winning captain is now recognised as being years ahead of his time.
The West Ham United legend was one of the first ball-playing centre-backs, and his eye for a pass played a crucial role in setting up the England’s first goal in that famous World Cup Final, to level the scores at 1-1, and his impact on the national team has cemented his place an all-time legend in English sport.
CB – John Terry
The five-time Premier League winner was named England captain in 2006, and often came up trumps when his country needed him most.
An astute centre-back, the Chelsea legend featured at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup’s and was so often an outstanding defender for the Three Lions.
LB – Ashley Cole
Memories of Ashley Cole may not garner the same romanticism as that of Stuart Pearce, but the former Arsenal and Chelsea man is widely recognised as one of the greatest left-backs of all time, and certainly of the modern era.
A total of 107 England caps certainly suggests that he was trusted as the country’s number one option for a number of years.
CM – Paul Gascoigne
One of the most loved players of the generation, Paul Gascoigne dazzled England fans, with his iconic goal against Scotland at Euro 1996 arguably being his finest moment.
However, it was at the 1990 World Cup in Italy where the nation really fell in love with the Geordie midfielder, and the rest of the nation wept with Gazza when a yellow card in the semi-final against West Germany would have ruled the Three Lions star out of a potential World Cup Final.
CM – Bobby Charlton
Another World Cup winner makes the greatest XI, albeit perhaps not in his most well-known centre-forward role.
The Manchester United European Cup winner scored three goals on the way to England’s finest hour, but cruelly missed out on a spot in the final due to injury, with his replacement Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick to secure the Jules Rimet trophy for England.
With 49 goals, Charlton ranks as his country’s third all-time top scorer, suggesting that his international career was far from a damp squib.
England’s greatest? Perhaps so.
RM – David Beckham
Another member of the famous Class of 92 who came through Manchester United’s academy, Beckham went on to have a successful club and international career.
Having won 115-England caps, Beckham played at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup’s for his country, with his most iconic moment being that wonderful last minute free-kick he scored against Greece in 2001, to secure the Three Lions a spot in South Korea/Japan.
LM – John Barnes
John Barnes was another player who wowed the country, and probably deserved more than the 79-caps than the Jamaican born-winger earned in the first place.
The highlight of his Three Lions career is probably the goal he scored against Brazil at the world-famous Maracanã against Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, which ranks as one of the greatest England goals of all time.
ST – Gary Lineker
Now famous for being host of Match of the Day, the former Barcelona star had an immense career for his country, with his goals almost powering England to a second World Cup triumph at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
England’s fourth all-time top scorer was a wonderful servant for his country, and played at three major international tournaments for the Three Lions, including two World Cup’s.
ST – Wayne Rooney
It is often claimed that if a teenage Wayne Rooney hadn’t have got injured during Euro 2004, the Three Lions would have been able to add a European Championship win next to their solitary World Cup, the 18-year-old was that good.
Say what you like about the five-time Premier League winner’s World Cup record, but you can’t have an England XI, without the presence of the country’s all-time top scorer, having scored 53 goals in 120 caps for the Three Lions.