Liverpool’s Best England XI?

We have been very fortunate over the years to have a wide array of English talent at our disposal. So many have gone on to represent England as well as star for the Reds. But what would you consider to be Liverpool’s Best England XI? Like so many footballing topics, it all boils down to opinions ultimately. There are certain positions though that may be nailed down by certain players because they were that good. Let’s take a look at the candidates in the various positions up for grabs.

Liverpool’s Best England XI

Goalkeeper

We have marvelled at many English born goalkeepers over the years, but ultimately their is only one real candidate in my opinion.

David James played 277 times for Liverpool between 1992 and 1999. His time at Liverpool was quite a checkered one. Signing for Liverpool at the age of 21 from Watford, where he was recognised as one of the country’s most promising prospects, James took a while to nail down the Number One spot. Being identified as one of the Spice Boys and earning the nickname “Calamity James” seems to be enough in itself to exclude him from Liverpool’s Best England XI. No, as good as he was at times, he has not made it into the Liverpool’s Best England XI.

The only really top drawer, quality candidate is Ray Clemence.

Ray Clemence

Signed by Bill Shankly for £18,000 from Scunthorpe United in June 1967. Clemence went on to be a very significant, important member of the very successful Liverpool teams of the 1970’s. Although signed in 1967, Clemence only became a first team regular in 1970. In his trophy laden spell at Liverpool spanning 1967 to 1981, he won the following:

5 – First Division titles

5 – Charity Shields

3 – European Cups

2 – UEFA Cups

1 – FA Cup

1 – European Super Cup

1 – League Cup

18 trophies in total. An incredible return for an incredible goalkeeper. In total he played 470 times for Liverpool. It seemed a strange decision at the time, but in 1981 he moved on to Tottenham Hotspur.

He also earned an impressive 61 caps for England. This figure would have been greatly improved on if it wasn’t for a certain Peter Shilton. Clemence is so widely acclaimed by Liverpool fans he has earned the right to be included as Number 11, in the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop” poll.

You can see why he was so highly rated here……

Full Backs

There are so many to consider. Some of them could also be considered for other positions. Let us take a look at the options here. Covering the decades from the 1960’s to the 2000’s we have had Tommy Smith, Chris Lawler, Gerry Byrne, Phil Neal, Alec Lindsay, Glen Johnson, Barry Venison, Gary Ablett, David Burrows, Emlyn Hughes and Rob Jones.

My selections for our best English born full-backs are Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy. Rob Jones was an excellent full-back but even if he remained fit for the majority of his career, I don’t think he would have eclipsed Phil “Zico” Neal. Some may argue that Chris Lawler is worth a shot, but overall, Neal gets the nod for me.

Phil Neal

Neal was Mr Cool personified. He was such an elegant and polished performer. Not only that but, like Lawler, he chipped in with a good number of goals as well. In a total of 650 games for Liverpool spanning 12 years (1974 to 1986), Neal notched an impressive 59 goals. Also, very impressively, Neal only missed one League game during a ten year spell between 1975 and 1985.

Neal is another who has been voted onto the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop” Hall Of Fame. Neal has been acknowledged by the fans as number 30 in the list.

Alan Kennedy

For much of his 12 years, Neal’s full-back partner was Alan “Barney Rubble” Kennedy. Signed from Newcastle United in 1978 for a fee in the region of £330,000. Kennedy was a part of the 1974 Newcastle team humbled 3-0 by Liverpool in the FA Cup Final. Barney was very solid defensively, but he also offered Liverpool a great attacking outlet as well. His marauding overlapping runs was a big feature of his playing style.

In 359 games between 1978 and 1986, Barney scored 20 goals in total. Very significantly, he notched the winning goals in two European Cup Finals. How many strikers can lay claim to that? Firstly, he scored the winner against the mighty Real Madrid in Paris in 1981, then coolly slotted the winning penalty in the penalty shoot out against Roma in Rome in 1984.

You can enjoy his winning goal in Paris here…..

Kennedy is another who made the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop” list, coming in at 28.

Centre-Backs

The middle of the back four is such a difficult area to pin down. And no wonder when you see the incredible array of English born centre-backs who have donned the famous Red shirt, Just take a look at these names – Tommy Smith, Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Jamie Carragher Larry Lloyd, Mark Wright. Neil Ruddock and John Scales weren’t bad, but not considered good enough to make the top 5 or 6.

In theory Mark Lawrenson could be included in this list as he was born in Preston. But he will be included in the ‘Celtic’ squad I will discuss later in the week, as he qualified to play for the Republic Of Ireland.

My choice for centre-backs are Emlyn Hughes and Phil Thompson.

Emlyn Hughes

Emlyn Hughes, aka “Crazy Horse” was such an infectious, driven and committed player. Not only that, he was so very versatile. He was also a top quality midfielder and a full-back. Arguably, Crazy Horse could also be considered for these other positions. Sadly, Hughes lost his fight against cancer in 2004 at the age of 57. Taken from us far too soon.

During the period 1967 to 1979, Crazy Horse played 665 games for Liverpool, scoring 49 goals.

He is a much-loved fans favourite and another to make the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”. He was voted at No.10 on the official Liverpool Football Club web site poll.

Bill Shankly clearly immediately saw the potential in Hughes. On the way back to Liverpool after signing him from Blackpool for £65,000 in 1967 at the age of 19, the car they were in was stopped by police after a road accident. As a result of the accident, Shankly’s car did not have any lights.

Next thing, a police car flags the car down and the Police officer approaches the car. Shanks winds down the window.

‘What is it officer?’ he asked,

‘I’m sorry sir you can’t continue the journey in that car as you’ve got no lights’. said the policeman.

Shanks explained what had happened but the young Police officer was having none of it.

‘Do you know who’s in this car?’, Shanks asked.

‘No’ said the officer, ‘I don’t recognise you.’

‘No not me’, he said, ‘I’ve got the future captain of England alongside me.’

A classic Shanks story that went to demonstrate what he thought of the young man sat in his car.

Hughes went on to captain Liverpool and was so very proud to skipper the Reds in two European Cup winning Finals in 1977 and 1978.

Phil Thompson

Local lad, Phil Thompson, signed his first professional contract for Liverpool in 1971, the day after his 17th birthday. In signing for Liverpool, he fulfilled every fans dream, as he was a Kop regular as a young boy. His debut for Liverpool came against bitter rivals, Manchester United a year later in a 3-0 win at Old Trafford.

In all, Thompson went on to play 477 times for Liverpool, scoring 13 goals in the process. Like Hughes before him, Thompson also captained the Reds to European Cup Final glory. He was skipper in Paris in 1981 when we beat Real Madrid.

After his playing career ended, Thompson went on to enjoy a coaching role under Kenny Dalglish, then at a later date, a successful spell as Gerard Houllier’s right hand man.

Yet another stalwart to make the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”, Thompson stands at number 29 in the elite Hall Of Fame.

Midfielders

Just take a look at these options. The list is incredible. As previously mentioned, Emlyn Hughes could be included in this list. In addition to Hughes, what about Ray Kennedy, Steven Gerrard, Steve McMahon, Ian Callaghan, John Barnes, Jimmy Case, Sammy Lee, Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp, Paul Ince, Danny Murphy and Terry McDermott to name a few.

I intend to include four players in my midfield. Like every midfield there is the need to create the right balance. With that in mind, I don’t think the team could include both Johnny Barnes and Steve McManaman. It shows the strength Liverpool have had in the engine room when you don’t pick the multi talented Steve McManaman in a “Liverpool’s Best England XI”

For me, our best midfield options are Barnes, McMahon, Callaghan and Gerrard. Such difficult decisions to leave out the others, but I think this quartet gives us the right balance.

Having said that, I think Gerrard and Barnes are nailed on for places in any Liverpool Tribute XI.

John ‘Digger’ Barnes

What a player. One of my favourites of all time. Barnes in his pomp was as good as you got in World football. There used to be criticism about his appearances for England. But who cares about that. England never set up correctly to get the best out of Barnes. Liverpool did and that’s all that matters for all Reds fans.

Barnes was an absolute joy to watch. He used to glide past players with his combination of pace, power and guile. He was also very versatile as he could also play a more central role, or he could play as what is called nowadays a “false number 9”

Ian Callaghan

Callaghan played 857 times for Liverpool between 1960 and 1978. he broke into the first team just after the appointment of Bill Shankly as Liverpool manager. He was a regular member of the first team by the time Liverpool won promotion to the First Division in 1962.

He then went on to enjoy considerable success with Liverpool after promotion to the 1st Division. Callaghan went on to help them the Reds win the League title in 1964, 1966, 1973, 1976 and 1977, as well as the FA Cup in 1965 and 1974. Success in Europe also followed. The UEFA Cup was won in 1973 and 1976, and the European Cup in 1977 and 1978 (although he only made the bench in 1978).

He was voted Football Writers Player of the Year in 1974. Incredibly, in all the hustle and bustle of midfield battle, he was booked only once. This came in the 1978 League Cup Final replay at Old Trafford against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. A game Liverpool lost 1-0.

His Liverpool career spanned almost 20 years – from 1959 to 1978. Not unsurprisingly, Callaghan also made the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”, coming in at number 21.

Steve McMahon

My Liverpool’s Best England XI is now nicely taking place. And as you can see, there is a good smattering of home bred players. Here’s another one. Steve McMahon. His career spanned the years from 1979 to 1998. The most notable years being with Liverpool in the late 1980s.

McMahon was placed in 42nd position in the ‘100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ poll. McMahon had a touch of steel to go with his silk. A very competitive midfielder, who enjoyed a fair bit of success with the Reds.

McMahon was Kenny Dalglish’s first signing on 12 September 1985 when he signed from Aston Villa for £350,000. He played a crucial role in Liverpool’s “double” winning side of that season.

McMahon was a frequent goalscorer for the Reds for a man in his position. He was again a regular member of the 1987/88 Championship winning side. This Liverpool team that also included John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge is arguably Liverpool’s finest ever.

In 1989 McMahon was again a regular fixture as Liverpool again chased a “double” of League and FA Cup. As one of the local players in the team, McMahon was deeply affected by the Hillsborough disaster during the FA Cup semi-final on 15 April. Liverpool won the FA Cup that year but agonisingly lost the title to an injury time Michael Thomas winner in a dramatic end of season finale at Anfield.

McMahon was again another regular feature as Liverpool again won the title in 1990. However we lost out on another “double” when we were beaten 4–3 by Crystal Palace in a thrilling FA Cup semi-final.

In all, McMahon played 277 times for Liverpool, scoring an impressive 50 goals.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard-Liverpool's Best England XI

Steven Gerrard-Liverpool’s Best England XI

As the player who occupies the number one spot in the ‘100 Players Who Shook The Kop’, there is no way Gerrard could not be included in Liverpool’s Best England XI.

Where do you start and where do you end in singing Stevie G’s praises. I think it is fair to say that Gerrard has almost single-handedly dragged Liverpool through countless of games over the years. His goal against Olympiacos in the successful 2004/o5 Champions League winning campaign stands out. As does his performance in the “Gerrard Final” in 2006 against West Ham. His versatility and his driving determination in the 2005 Champions League Final against AC Milan also showed his special attributes.

These are only a few examples. Over the years, Stevie G has performed over and above the call of duty on so many occasions. There is so much to say about Stevie G he has a special place on my main www.fieldsofanfieldroad.com website. I have broken his Liverpool career down into three periods. But first of all, take a look here….

Steven Gerrard – Click HERE.

Breaking his Liverpool career down into 3 periods….

Steven Gerrard – 1998 to 2004 – See HERE.

Steven Gerrard – 2004 to 2007 – Click HERE.

Steven Gerrard – 2007 to Present Day – Click HERE.

I think it is fair to say that Stevie G isn’t just a Liverpool legend, but also a footballing legend overall.

He not only makes Liverpool’s Best England XI. He, quite rightly, is also named as captain.

Strikers

Again, plenty to choose from. Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Peter Crouch, Peter Beardsley, David Johnson, Daniel Sturridge, Emile Heskey and David Fairclough are those that readily spring to mind.

My choices though for the last two positions in Liverpool’s Best England XI goes to Roger Hunt and Robbie Fowler. Goals galore with this pair.

Roger Hunt

Roger Hunt’s Liverpool career spanned 1959 to 1970. And what a Liverpool career it was.

Manager Phil Taylor signed Hunt for Liverpool on 29 July 1958. He made his debut and scored his first goal for the club on 9 September 1959 in a Second Division fixture at Anfield against Scunthorpe United. This goal turned out to be the first of many. He would eventually go on to score 286 goals for the club, 245 of them in the league.

To this day Hunt is referred to by the fans as “Sir” Roger Hunt. A club legend and well worthy of a place in Liverpool’s Best England XI and his 16th place in “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”

Robbie Fowler

Often referred to as “God” by the fans, Fowler is another who scored goals for fun. In his early days he was also known as the “Toxteth Terror”

As it currently stands, Fowler is the sixth-highest goalscorer in the history of the Premier League. He scored 183 goals in total for Liverpool, 128 of which were scored in the Premier League.

Fowler left the club to sign for Leeds United for £11m in 2001. After a 2 year spell at Leeds, Fowler joined Manchester City before an emotional return to Anfield in 2006.

Like all of our other Liverpool’s Best England XI team mates, Fowler is included in the “100 Players Who Shook The Kop”, coming in at a well deserved number 4.

The Final XI

My final Liverpool’s Best England XI, in a 4-4-2 formation, or 4-3-3 if you include John Barnes in a front 3 is:

Clemence; Neal, Hughes, Thompson, Kennedy; Callaghan, McMahon, Gerrard, Barnes; Hunt, Fowler.

What a starting XI. And take a look at the players left out!! That team would take some stopping.

In the next few days however, I will put together my combined Scotland, Ireland and Wales XI; rest Of Europe XI and finally Rest Of The World XI.

What is your Liverpool’s Best England XI? Is it the same as mine?

Steven Gerrard Framed Photographs

Steven Gerrard Framed Photographs

£10.00
A set of three photographs or postcards, mounted and framed in black
Framed Steven Gerrard Signed Liverpool Photograph: Istanbul 2005

Framed Steven Gerrard Signed Liverpool Photograph: Istanbul 2005

£114.99
This superb photograph was personally autographed by Steven Gerrard at an Exclusive Memorabilia ...
Steven Gerrard Signed A4 Printed Autograph Liverpool Print Photo Picture Display - Great Gift Idea

Steven Gerrard Signed A4 Printed Autograph Liverpool Print Photo Picture Display - Great Gift Idea

£7.99
Steven Gerrard Liverpool Photo Display with Printed Autograph. This A4 (297x210mm) Display comes ...



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.