Thursday, August 13, 2015

United Kingdom Greatest All-time team

Great Britain in 2012

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team,
IrelandNorthern Ireland,
Greater London
North East EnglandNorthWest England.
Black English players
United Kingdom 1970
United Kingdom 1982
United Kingdom World Cup 1994

The United Kingdom completed as the Great Britain at the early Olympics.  Then, in 2012, the team was reborn again when the Olympics were hosted at home in London.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. I have also created  Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team.  This all-time team from the United Kingdom consists of players from the Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Players from the Republic of Ireland are not considered to be from the United Kingdom.

Please look at my all-time teams for England, Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland.  I have also created an all-time Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team  
Great Britain 1908 Olympic

GK: Peter Shilton (England)
Peter Shilton is considered one of the greatest keepers ever.  He is England's all-time cap record-holder with 125.  He earned his first cap in 1970 and his last 20 years later in 1990.  He took England to 4th place in the 1990 World Cup.  He played for 11 different clubs in his career, all in England.  He won two straight European Cups in 1979 and 1980 with Nottingham Forrest. He was PFA Players' Player of the Year: 1977–78, an award rarely won by a goalkeeper.
Peter Shilton
GK: Gordon Banks (England)
Gordon Banks was named FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972, and was named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions. He was the starting goalkeeper for England's the World Cup winning team in 1966.  He made one of the game's great saves to prevent a Pelé goal in the 1970 World Cup.  Along with Lev Yashin, he is considered the greatest keepers of his generation. The prime of his club career was spent with Leicester and Stoke City.

GK: Pat Jennings (N.Ireland)
Considered among the greatest goalkeeper of all-time.  The prime of his career was spent with both Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal.  In 1973 the Football Writers' Association named him as its footballer of the year. Three years later he won PFA's version of the award – he was the first goalkeeper to receive this accolade, and to this date remains only one of two, along with Peter Shilton. He earned 119 caps for Northern Ireland and went to two WC Finals. 

RB: Jimmy Armfield (England)
Jimmy Armfield is considered to be Blackpool's greatest player.  He captained England for 15 times.  He was voted "the best right-back in the world" after the 1962 WC in Chile.  He also represented the England national team 43 times between 1959 and 1966, and captained them in 15 games. He was a member of England's 1966 World Cup team, but an injury prevented him from playing any of the games at the Finals.

RB: Danny McGrain (Scotland)
McGrain was an All-time great for Celtics. With Celtic, he won seven League Championships, five Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. He spent his final season of his career with Hamilton Accies, where he helped win them promotion to the premier league. He played in the 1974 and 1982 World Cups for Scotland, captaining the side in their opening match against New Zealand at the 1982 World Cup.

CB/ST: John Charles (Wales)
Charles was the greatest Welsh player.  He was equally adept at centre-forward or centre-back.  His best part of career was with Juventus. He was Serie A's top scorer with 28 goals, and was voted player of the season as Juventus won the Scudetto. He played in Turin for five years, scoring 93 goals in 155 matches, winning the scudetto (Italian league championship) three times, and the Italian Cup twice. He was 3rd in the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) in 1959. He was never booked in his entire career.
John Charles
SW: Alan Hansen (Scotland)
Among the greatest defender ever from United Kingdom, he won three European Cups and 8 English league titles with Liverpool in the 1970's and 1980's. Hansen only won 26 Scotland caps. The reason given for his lack of caps by Scotland coaches of the 1980s was that a formidable central defensive partnership had formed between Willie Miller and Alex McLeish at Aberdeen.  He played in the 1982 WC Finals, but he left off controversially the WC in 1986. 

CB: Billy Wright (England)
Billy Wright is the first football player in the world to earn 100 caps(105 total).  He also made a total of 105 appearances for England, captaining them a record 90 times, including during their campaigns at the 1950, 1954 and 1958 World Cup finals.  He was one of England's finest center-backs.  He spent his whole career at Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1939 to 1959. He won the FA Cup in 1949. He was the winner of FWA Footballer of the Year in 1952 and Ballon d'Or Runners Up in 1957.

CB: Bobby Moore  (England)
Bobby Moore was the captain of the 1966 World Cup winning team. He was regarded one of the greatest defenders of all time and a gentleman of the game.  He won a total of 108 caps for the England team, which at the time of his international retirement in 1973 was a national record.  For his club career, he played mainly for West Ham, but he also played for Fulham and had a stint in the NASL.  He won a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with West Ham. 
Bobby Moore

LB: Eddie Hapgood (England)
Hapgood captained both Arsenal and England during the 1930s. He was one of first star players in England.  His image was used for advertisement which was a pioneer at his time. He started his Arsenal career in 1927 and ended in 1944.  Internationally, he had 30 caps with 21 times as its captain.  He captained England during the famous "the Battle of Highbury" against World Cup winner Italy in 1934.

LB: Ashley Cole (England)
Ashley Cole was considered one of the finest leftbacks of his generation.  He was voted the England Player of the Year in 2010. He played in 3 World Cup Finals.  He is also England's most-capped full-back in history.  He played with Arsenal, but moved to its rival Chelsea.  He won the Champions' League in 2012 with Chelsea.  He also played for Roma and LA Galaxy.

CM/DM/LB: Dave MacKay (Scotland)
Known for his toughness and passing abilities. He won the Double with Tottenham Hotspurs in 1961 and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1963.  He was selected as one of the Football Heros stamp series to celebrate the 150 years of English FA. He also represented Scotland 22 times, and was selected for their 1958 World Cup squad. He tied with Tony Book of Manchester City for the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year award in 1969.

CM: Graeme Souness (Scotland)
Graeme Sounds played for Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Sampdoria, but his greatest achievement came while he played for Liverpool. He was one of the greatest ever Liverpool players.  He won three European Cups with them, captaining the team in the early 1980's.  He was also the Player-Manager for Rangers. He also earned 54 caps for Scotland. He attended three World Cup Finals: 1978, 1982 and 1986.
Graeme Souness
CM/AM:  Danny Blanchflower (Northern Ireland)
Danny Blanchflower is considered one of Northern Ireland's greatest footballers.  He won the Double in 1961 with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He won the FA Cup the following year, and then, a Cup Winners' Cup in 1963.  He was the PWA Player of the Year in 1958 and 1961. He also played for Aston Villa and Barnsley before joining Hotspurs. He went to the World Cup in 1958, where Northern  Ireland reached the quarterfinal.

CM: Duncan Edwards (England)
Duncan Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United.  He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He was the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 21.  Many people considered him to be  England's greatest player.  He was a dominating central midfielder of his time. For the English national team, he was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.

LW/RW: George Best (N.Ireland)
George Best was considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game.  He was voted #19 as the greatest European player by the UEFA Jublilee Poll. He was known for his "pop star" lifestyle. He was one of the "United's Trinity" that helped Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968.  He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.
George Best
RW: Stanley Matthews (England)
Stanley Matthews is the only player to have been knighted while still playing, as well as being the first winner of both the European Footballer of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year awards. Sir Matthews is widely considered the greatest English player of all-time. Between 1937 and 1957 he won 54 caps for England, playing in the World Cup in 1950 and 1954, and winning nine British Home Championship titles.  He played with Stoke and Blackpool.

LW: Ryan Giggs (Wales)
Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014.  He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. With the United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, 4 FA Cup winner's medals, 3 League Cup winner's medals and 2 Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales.  He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.
Ryan Giggs 
AM: Bobby Charlton (England)
Sir Bobby was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time.  He was capped 106 times by England and led England to World Cup victory in 1966.  He is also England's all-time leading scorer and all-time cap leader at the time of his retirement.  He was selected for four World Cups from 1958 to 1970. For club career,  he almost played his entire career with Manchester United.  He was the hero of Manchester United's the first ever European Cup trophy in 1968. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.

AM: Alex James (Scotland)
James was one of the greatest player ever for Arsenal.  He is most noted as the play making lynch pin with Arsenal with whom he won six senior trophies in the first seven seasons of the 1930s. he also played for Preston Northend. For Scotland, he was known with his partnership with Hughie Gallacher. He was a member of "Wembley Wizards" that England 5-1 in 1928. However, he was only capped 8 times. 

ST: Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)
"King Kenny" was the greatest player for Liverppol in an era where Liverpool was considered to be among the greatest club sides in history.  He won 3 European Cups with them. He is the cap record holder and their top ever scorer for Scotland. He won the Ballon d'Or Silver Award in 1983, the PFA Player of the Year in 1983, and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1979 and 1983. In 2009 FourFourTwo named Dalglish as the greatest striker in post-war British football.
Kenny Dalglish
ST/SS: Jimmy Greaves (England)
Jimmy Greaves was the top scorer in the English league for 6 seasons. He won the FA Cup in 1962 and 1967, and the UEFA Cup in 1963. He started with Chelsea, but also played with AC Milan and spent 9 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was a member of the World Cup winning team in 1966.  However, he lost his starting position after suffering an injury against France and did not play latter stage of the Finals.

ST: Ian Rush (Wales)
Ian Rush was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He is the Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer, with 346 goals. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic. Rush made 73 appearances for Wales between 1980 and 1996.
Ian Rush
Honorable Mention
Ray Clemence (England), Frank Swift (England), Sol Campbell (England), Bryan Robson (England), Tom Finney (England), Denis Law (Scotland), Kevin Keegan (England), Dixie Dean (England), Neville Southall (Wales), Hughie Gallacher (Scotland), Billy Brenmen (Scotland).

Squad Explanation
-- The Republic of Ireland is not a part of United Kingdom while Northern Ireland is a part of this nation.
-- I tried to spread around the team.  The greatest footballers from each country were selected. I started with putting the best players from each team.
-- From England, I selected Bobby Charlton, Stanley Matthews and Bobby Moore. Duncan Edwards' career was short, but many people rated him very high. With Wales, I took Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs and John Charles. Then, Pat Jennings, George Best and Danny Blanchflower were the greatest from Northern Ireland. From Scotland, I took Alex James, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness.  So I started with 13 players.
-- I have already mentioned Pat Jennings above.  The two other goalkeepers are very straight forward. Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton are the greatest ever from the United Kingdom and perhaps in the world. Then, they were followed by Ray Clemence, Frank Swift and Neville Southall.  
-- For rightback, I took Jimmy Armfield (England) and Danny McGrain (Scotland).  I do not really have any alternative.
-- For centerbacks, John Charles and Bobby Moore were already selected above. Both Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand are highly rated, but I took Alan Hansen and Billy Wright who are legends of the game.
-- The left back position is very obvious for the United Kingdom. So I took the pair from England, Eddie Hapgood and Ashley Cole.  Liked the rightback position, I do not have any alternative.
-- After I selected all of the defenders,  I have 21 players.  
-- Of the 21 players I have just selected, I have 3 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 3 wingers, 3 central midfielers, 2 attack midfielders and 3 forwards/strikers.  John Charles can play on both defence and offence.  So I probably need another central midfielder and a striker/forward.  
-- From central midfielders,  I considered Steve Gerrard,  Billy Bremner and Bryan Robson.  I took Dave MacKay for his toughness.  Dave Mackay was selected as one of the Football Heros stamp series to celebrate the 150 years of English FA.  The United Kingdom put him on a stamp for a reason.  He was one of the greatest defensive midfielders.
-- For the forwards, Denis Law, Kevin Keegan, Jimmy Greaves, Hughie Gallacher and Dixie Dean are considered. Patsy Gallacher played for both IFA (now called Northern Ireland) and FAI (Republic of Ireland). Since FAI is not a part of United Kingdom, his status is very sensitive to many people in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. To avoid tricky the political question, I decided against considering him.  Anyway, I felt the other might have be a better choice.
-- I toyed with the idea of reuniting Manchester United's trinity of Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law. 
-- Kevin Keegan won the Ballon d'Or in 1978, 1979(European Player of the Year).  No other player from the United Kingdom has won more than once.
-- In the end, I took Jimmy Greaves who was the top scorer in the English league for 6 seasons.  

Starting Lineup
I use the British 4-4-2.  John Charles can also start as the centerback.  I would then start Greaves as the striker.

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