World Cup list: Our squad of 23 surprising England World Cup players

World Cup list: Our squad of 23 surprising England World Cup players

World Cup list: Our squad of 23 surprising England World Cup players

First published in World Cup 2014
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor

It is the eve of the 2014 World Cup so we've assembled our own squad of 23 England players you may be surprised represented their country at the greatest show on Earth...

 

Oxford Mail:

1. Dave Beasant - First keeper to save a penalty in the cup final at Wembley, the most expensive keeper once, and holder of a World Cup fourth place medal after being a late call up to Bobby Robson's Italia 90 squad. Fancy that

Oxford Mail: ON THE UP: Player-manager Phil Neal celebrates after Wanderers beat Wrexham in May, 1988, to earn promotion back into the Third Division, a season after they were relegated

2. Phil Neal – Possibly the only player to compete with Phil Neville in the 'He actually got 50 caps?' category. Played once in 82

Oxford Mail: BILL SHANKLY: Liverpool captain Emlyn Hughes holds the aloft the League Cup with the manager at his side.

3. Emlyn Hughes – An England captain with 59 caps yes but if you're saying he was in the 1982 squad you'd be wrong. Was part of Sir Alf's 1970 squad in Mexico though. Didn't play so he may as well have been Back Home for all the good he did

Oxford Mail: DEBUT: Neil Webb

4. Neil Webb – Suffered a horrible injury during 1989-90 and many believe only secured his place on the plane to Italia 90 when he set up the winner for Lee Martin in the 1990 FA Cup final replay. Didn't mean much though as he was only drafted in for that meaningless 3rd place play-off. Got the medal though

5. Alvin Martin – Had just led West Ham to third when he went to Mexico 86, and he played against Paraguay when Terry Fenwick was suspended. Robson brought back Fenwick for the quarter-final against Argentina but surely Alvin would have done a little better than stroke Maradona's shirt as he slalomed through the England ranks for the winner

Oxford Mail:

6. Steve Foster – Perhaps Ron Greenwood only picked him because he believed the famous headband would keep the sweat out of his eyes in the Spanish sun?

Oxford Mail: Blues target: Wanderers want to sign Rob Lee

7Rob Lee – Industrious player with that Lampard knack of scoring from midfield. And that got him on the field against Colombia in 1998. Yes, I missed that appearance too

Oxford Mail: Paul Merson at Ribbesford Meadows.

8. Paul Merson – The only player in the 1998 squad not from a top flight club. Scored in the penalty shoot-out against Argentina but if Glenn Hoddle was going to take one party boy to France, I still wish it had been Gazza

9. Steve Bull – You obviously had this one. But how many times did he get on the pitch at Italia 90? Four out of the seven matches. Fair rate for old Bully

10. Kerry Dixon – A year before Mexico 86 he went for the warm-up tournament competing with Gary Lineker and scored two against the West Germans. A year later though just got on the pitch for six minutes against the Poles – after Lineker had done the business with his hat-trick. It's a funny old game

Oxford Mail: Kieron Dyer

11. Kieron Dyer – Perhaps the surprise here is not so much he made the 2002 squad but that he wasn't injured and made three apperances

Oxford Mail:

12. Viv Anderson – First black player for England but that didn't count for much in either 1982 or 1986. Didn't kick a ball – in part in Spain because Kevin Keegan's injury meant a captain on the field was needed so Mick Mills' place at right back was secured

Oxford Mail:

13. Gary Bailey – There was a time the Manchester United keeper was looking like Peter Shilton's successor. Then he crocked his knee during training at the 1986 World Cup and that was pretty much it for his career

Oxford Mail:

14. Don Howe – To most of us he was the old fella with the unfashionable glasses sat next to Greenwood, Robson and Terry Venables on the England bench. But he went to both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups as a fullback. No doubt he's saying above: "Put me in Bobby. Paul Parker is just going to turn his back at this free kick..." 

Oxford Mail: Martin Keown will be on hand to pass on his expertise to young Millwall fans. ARSENALFC.COM

15. Martin Keown – Our local representative and I would stress before he comes around to robustly quibble his entry, that it may surprise many that he was at both 1998 and 2002

Oxford Mail: Wes Brown

16. Wes Brown – One off the Manchester United production line of young defenders that you can't fathom how much they've played and how much they've won. Didn't play or win in 2002 though

Oxford Mail: Proud day - Christopher Dove with player Jermaine Jenas

17. Jermaine Jenas – I have a theory Jenas was one of those who looked phenomenal in training but was ineffectual in the heat of the game. Good job training was all he was needed for in 2006. Given how small his head is, perhaps he was just a cone?

Oxford Mail:

18. Gary Stevens – Not the fleet-footed Everton fullback but the Tottenham utility man. That's why he went to Mexico and he helped set up Lineker for the final goal against Paraguay (below)

Oxford Mail: Alex Stepney

19. Alex Stepney – Another longtime Manchester United keeper. He was in the squad for 1970 – and it was a choice between him and Peter Bonetti for the quarter-final against West Germany when Gordon Banks was ill. Sir Alf plumped for Bonetti. What could possibly go wrong?

Oxford Mail: Michael Dawson

20. Michael Dawson – Initially missed the cut for South Africa four years ago but then got the call when Rio Ferdinand was injured. Didn't play but would he have been any more exposed than Matthew Upson against the Germans? No

21. Peter Withe – The first Aston Villa player to be selected for an England World Cup squad in 1982. Apparently. No doubt down to clinical finishing as above

Oxford Mail: Stephen Warnock

22. Stephen Warnock – Here's a few funny facts: His England 'career' actually spanned five years; Fabio Capello picked him for South Africa instead of Leighton Baines; and, because his Three Lions' caps were in friendlies, Scotland were considering picking him in 2012. Why are you not laughing?

23. Stuart McCall – Ok, ok, ok a Scottish international but in keeping with this Anglo-Scots theme, McCall was born in Leeds and selected for England's Under 21s in 1984. There's a famous picture of him in England kit looking like he was getting ready to come on but he realised at that moment Tartan was more fetching. Wasted a bit of time until the full whistle went so he didn't get on and scuttled off to Hampden. Played three times at Italia 90 - just think, Bobby Robson may have picked him instead of Gazza. He's scored one more World Cup goal after all. Jings!

  • Why don't you suggest your squad members below

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