David Beckham gained his 114th cap for England last week against Croatia, despite playing only 10 minutes. It drove us to take a look at England’s top ten most capped players – From World Cup legends Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton to aging stars Beckham and Michael Owen.
Number 10 – Ray Wilkins, 84 caps
Squareball Wilkins, now the Assistant Manager at Chelsea, played regularly for England between 1976-1986, playing in two World Cups (1982 and 1986) and one Euro (1980). He scored three goals for the national side, the most memorable of them is the “double-lob” goal against Belgium in the 1980 Euro tournament.
Number 9 – Gary Neville (still active) – 85 caps
Although he hasn’t played an international match since February 2007, Neville is by far the most capped right back in the history of the English national side, beginning his career with the three lions shirt back in 1985. He has played in two World Cups (1998, 2006) and in three Euro tournaments (1996, 2000, 2004). Despite getting called up in May, currently it seems unlikely Neville will get more caps with the national side, with his recent injury problems and declining form.
Number 8 – Kenny Sansom – 86 caps
The most capped full back in the history of the English national side and the man Gary Neville will probably never reach, Sansom played for England between 1979-1988. Sansom played in two World Cups (1982, 1986) and two Euro’s (1980, 1988). He was responsible for the Ireland’s famous win over England in the 1988 Euro, making a grave mistake, allowing the goal. He scored one goal in his 86 caps, in 1984 during a World Cup Qualifier.
Number 7 – Michael Owen (still active) – 89 caps
With 40 goals for the national side, Owen is still hoping he’ll get back to the uniform to play and score enough to make him the number one scorer, surpassing Bobby Charlton’s 49. Owen played his first game for England in February 1998 against Chile, making him the youngest player to wear England’s shirt in the 20th century. Owen played in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and two Euro’s (2000, 2004). To this date, his most famous goal is the slalom against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.
Number 6 – Bryan Robson – 90 caps
Now an unemployed manager, but back in the 1980’s Robson was known as Captain Marvel. He was the heart of Manchester United and of England’s midfield. He made his debut for the national side in 1980, but didn’t feature in the 1980 Euro. In the 1982 World Cup he scored a goal 27 seconds from the start, then the second fastest World Cup goal ever. He played in three World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990) and one Euro, 1988. He scored 26 goals for the national side.
Number 5 – Billy Wright – 105 caps
Billy Wright, who played his entire club career with Wolves in the 40’s and 50’s was also the captain of England between 1948, two years after his debut for the national side and until his retirement, 90 games and 11 years later. He was the first player in the world to reach 100 international appearances, and hold an impressive achievement for a centre back – never getting sent off once in his career.
Number 4 – Sir Bobby Charlton – 106 caps
Sir Bobby, hero of the 1966 World Cup, when England won their only World Cup and a Manchester United legend as well, known for ability to score as an attacking midfielder and his ferocious long range shots. Charlton holds the scoring record for the England team, with 49 goals. He hasn’t scored an international goal since 1970, but still remains on top of the list.
Number 3 – Bobby Moore – 108 caps
Bobby Moore was England’s captain for 97 games in a period stretching across 10 years, but he’ll always be remembered as the captain of the World Cup winning side in 1966. He played for the national side between 1962-1973, scoring two goals.
Number 2 – David Beckham (still active) – 114 caps
The most capped outfield player in the history of the England national team, David Beckham, despite his move to the United States and obvious declining ability, still gets a few minutes here and there, with Peter Shilton’s record getting closer and closer. Beckham has played with national side since 1996 and served as England’s captain from 2000-2006. Beckham has played in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and two Euro’s for England (2000, 2004).
Number 1 – Peter Shilton – 125 caps
Peter Shilton didn’t get to play in a World Cup till he was 32, but managed to play in three of them and alongside Fabian Barthez holds the record of 10 clean sheets in World Cup Games. Shilton began his international career in 1970 and played until 1990, retiring after the 1990 World Cup in Italy. In June 1989 Shilton passed Moore as England’s all time appearance leader.