football team played their first international match in 1872 when they faced Scotland.
In the 140 years since that match in excess of 900 matches have
been played, and hundreds of players have represented the country.
As of September 2013, eight
players have gone on to represent England on 100 or more occasions.
The first of these players was Billy Wright, who received his 100th
cap in April 1959, and the most recent was Frank Lampard, who received his in
Billy Wright –
The Wolverhampton Wanderers
centre half, Billy Wright’s start as a professional footballer was hampered by
the Second World War. Nevertheless on the back of some good performances for
Wolves during the war, Wright was called up for his first cap on the 28
September 1946 when England
and two years later he was made captain of the team.
Billy Wright’s hundredth cap came
against Scotland on the 11 April 1959, eight weeks and five games later Wright
would play his last international against the United States. In his time as an England international, Billy Wright would
captain the team ninety times, a joint England record that still stands.
Bobby Charlton –
At the time when Billy Wright’s
international career was drawing to a close, an England midfield legend was just
beginning his. In April 1958 a young Manchester United player by the name of
Bobby Charlton played his first international against Scotland; it was the start of an international
career that would incorporate 106 caps, and at the time of his retirement,
Charlton was the most capped England
player of all time.
Charlton was an attacking
midfielder-come-forward, particularly known in his day for his stamina and
fitness, Bobby Charlton possessed one of the most feared longshots in the game.
Even today Bobby Charlton remains the all-time highest goal-scorer for England with 49 goals, and is one of the few England
players to be proclaimed World Cup Winner, a feat he and his team-mates
achieved in 1966.
Booby Moore –
Another England Centurion was
Bobby Charlton’s captain in the World Cup winning team, Bobby Moore. Arguably
the best defender in the world in his time, Moore remains an iconic figure in English
football. Captain of England
a record 90 times, a joint record with Billy Wright, all of his international
caps came when playing for West Ham United.
Debuting in May 1962 against Peru, Moore would
play for England a total of
108 times before his last game against Italy in November 1973. Moore would only score two goals for England, both in 1966, but he will
always be remembered for his mastery of the art of tackling, including the
“perfect” tackle against Jairzinho in the 1970 World Cup.
Peter Shilton –
The current all time record
holder for England
caps, is Peter Shilton. As goalkeeper for the national team, Shilton’s career
lasted for almost twenty years and totalled 125 international appearances. Most
of Shilton’s appearances would come when he played for Leicester
City and Derby County.
Shilton made his debut for England in November 1970 against East Germany, and his last appearance came
in the World Cup of 1990. When Shilton made his debut the number one England
goalie was still Gordon Banks, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Indeed Banks was still playing for England through until 1972. Even
when Shilton took over he still faced competition from Ray Clemence, who
himself amassed 61 caps, so it is possible that Shilton’s record tally could
have proved to be even greater.
David Beckham –
Another England Centurion, David
Beckham is an icon of world football, credited with helping to spread the
popularity of the sport around the world. The England
midfielder retired with a total of 115 caps for England, and 17 goals, including a
number of important qualifying game goals.
Beckham was adored and vilified
as an England player, and
whilst his freekicks and crosses helped the England
cause, his sending off against Argentina
in the 1998 World Cup also meant he was often booed.
David Beckham made his debut
against Moldova in September
1996 and his final game came against Belarus
in October 2009; during his international career would captain England
on 58 occasions. David Beckham’s caps came when he was playing for Manchester
United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Since 2012, three further players
have played 100 or more times for England, and are, as of October
2013 still adding to their totals.
Steven Gerrard –
The Liverpool midfielder and
captain, and England
Captain, made his 100th England
game in a friendly against Sweden
in November 2012; having made his debut against Ukraine in May 2000. Often the
driving force for club and country, Gerrard has scored 21 goals in 107
Ashley Cole –
Currently playing for Chelsea, and previously for Arsenal, Ashley Cole has
cemented himself as an England
wingback since his debut against Albania in March 2001. Cole’s 100th
cap came in February 2013 when he played in a friendly against Brazil.
Despite having score on a number of occasions for his clubs, Cole has not yet
scored for England
in 105 internationals.
Frank Lampard –
The most recent addition to the
list of England centurions is Frank Lampard, the one time West Ham United, and
now Chelsea, midfielder. Lampard made his debut against Belgium in a friendly in October 1999, and his
100th appearance came in another friendly against Ukraine in September 2013. In his
one hundred appearances, Lampard has scored 29 goals, including an England
record of 9 penalties.
With seemingly more qualifying
games, tournaments and friendlies taking place, it is likely that there will be
regular additions to the list of England players with over a hundred