We’ve done the Uncapped Squad, The One Cap squad and now for the conclussion of the trilogy with a look back at those players who England picked but not often enough. In part 1 we look at the best 11, in part 2 we’ll fill out the remaining squad…
Note only players with at least 1 cap and less than 10 caps are eligible.
- Alex Stepney (1 Cap)
Given he played in the era of Gordan Banks, Stepney was never likely to be England number one, but it’s still surprising that he was so overlooked. He joined Manchester United in 1966 and after establishing himself as number one won the League Title the following season. The high water mark of Stepney’s career saw him lift the European Cup in 1968 and on the back of that success was finally called up by Alf Ramsey ahead of Euro ’68. Stepney won his only England cap in the build up win over Sweden. But soon after the finals with Banks immovable as first choice Ramsey switched back to Everton’s Gordan West & Chelsea’s Peter Bonetti as back up options. With Manchester United fading in the early ’70s so did Stepney’s chances of a recall but he did stay at Old Trafford long enough to win the 1977 FA Cup and play 400 games for the club.
2. Paul Reaney (3 Caps)
George Best rated the Leeds right back as one of the two best defenders he ever faced, yet Alf Ramsey begged to differ. Reaney emerged from the Leeds junior side of the early ’60s that also sported amongst others Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter & Peter Lorimer. By 1964 Reaney was in the Leeds first team and in ’68 won his first medals as Leeds won the League & European Fairs Cup’s. The same year he made his England debut but found himself second choice behind Keith Newton. In 1970 he was set to be selected for the World Cup squad but a late season broken leg saw him miss out. He did pick up 2 more caps in 1971 but didn’t win Ramsey’s favour and by the time his club manager Don Revie took over the national side Reaney was 30 years old. It remains an oddity that Reaney didn’t get more caps but he did play in one of the great sides of English club football and accumulated an enormous 750 appearances for Leeds.
3. Nigel Winterburn (2 Caps)
The long-standing Arsenal left back was another player whose England career suffered from playing in a great era of players in his position. He made his league debut with Wimbledon and was part of the side that achieved promotion to the First Division in 1986. But a year later Winterburn was sold to Arsenal where he eventually replaced longstanding England Number 3 Kenny Sansom. By 1989 Winterburn was first choice for title bound Arsenal and was handed his England debut by Bobby Robson. The problem was despite unseating Sansom with Arsenal, Stuart Pearce was undisputed first choice for England whilst the pacey, attack minded Tony Dorigo was a highly capable back-up.
Winterburn was overlooked for Italia ’90 but continued to pick up medals with Arsenal and new England manager Graham Taylor recalled him, but Winterburn couldn’t work his way further than third in the pecking order and won just won more cap. He did however play over 400 games for Arsenal and picked up 3 League Titles and 3 major cup winners medals.
4. Steve Perryman (1 Cap)
Tottenham’s longest-serving player was a perennial England nearly man. Perryman, a defensive midfielder came through the ranks at Spurs and made his debut aged 18 in 1969. In the early ’70s Perryman established himself in the first team and picked up 2 League Cup winners medals and a UEFA Cup win. Perryman wasn’t part of Alf Ramsey or Don Revie’s plans but did play 17 times for England’s Under 23s between 1972-75.
But Bill Nicholson retired in 1974 and Spurs were sailing into troubled waters with the club relegated in 1977. England seemed a long way away for Perryman, but Tottenham rallied in the late ’70s with their Argentine duo Villa & Ardiles. Tottenham won back to back FA Cup’s in 1981 & 82 and Perryman reappeared on Ron Greenwood’s radar. Perryman made his England debut in the build up to the 1982 World Cup but missed out on Ron’s 22. By now Perryman was 32 and new boss Bobby Robson wasn’t interested. Perryman eventually left Tottenham in 1986 after 17 years, 866 games and with 6 Cup winners medals.
5. Steve Howey (4 Caps)
Howey a native of the North East started his career with Newcastle in 1989 and was a mainstay of the Kevin Keegan revolution. Playing centre back for Keegan’s side was as thankless as being Custer’s first officer. But Howey impressed as Newcastle established themselves as contenders and Howey caught the eye of England manager Terry Venables. He made his England debut in November 1994 as Venables struggled to find a partner for Tony Adams in central defence.
The following season Newcastle stormed to the top of the league and Howey was favourite to start at Euro ’96. But Newcastle imploded and Keegan had his infamous meltdown whilst Howey struggled for fitness. Howey managed to get in England’s squad for the summer but wasn’t fit enough to start and Venables found a plan b in Aston Villa’s Gareth Southgate. Howey spent Euro ’96 on the bench and never played for England again, whilst Southgate won 57 caps. If Howey had been fit that summer who knows, perhaps it would be Steve Howey inspiring Waistcoat Wednesday!
6. Steve Foster (3 Caps)
Unlike most on this list Foster did actually make it to a World Cup- with Ron’s 22 in 1982, but never established himself as a regular. Foster started with Portsmouth but by 1979 he’d moved to Brighton and was impressing in the First Division. He made his England debut in build up to the 1982 World Cup but the 24-year-old was so convinced he wasn’t going to Spain he went out for a round of golf as the squad was being announced. He got a shock when he returned home and went to the World Cup as a back up option. Foster played little part in the tournament whilst the similarly aged Terry Butcher came to the fore.
After the tournament Butcher’s old Ipswich boss Bobby Robson took over and Foster was in and out winning just 1 more cap. But as his England career faded Foster hit his best run in club football as Brighton made it to the 1983 FA Cup Final. Foster stayed with Brighton despite relegation before moving to Aston Villa and settling at Luton where he won his 1 major honour, the 1988 League Cup as captain. Eventually Foster dropped down the divisions and finished his career back with Brighton in 1996.
7. Stan Bowles (5 Caps, 1 Goal)
One of English footballs’ great mavericks, Bowles played for 3 different England managers but didn’t convince any of them. Bowles moved around in his early career but really took off when he joined QPR in 1972. His wizardry down the wing made him a crowd favourite but Alf Ramsey didn’t trust mavericks and resisted calls to bring in Bowles until his final game as England boss in April 1974. He was retained by England caretaker boss Joe Mercer and initially by Don Revie, but the hard-nosed Revie and hard partying Bowles were never likely to get on, Bowles later recalled Revie fuming at him for sneaking out to a nightclub whilst on England duty. For all his brilliance Bowles was a hard drinker and Revie would not be the last manager with whom he’d quarrel.
He fell out with new QPR boss Tommy Docherty, who made him train with the reserves. Soon after Bowles was on his way to Nottingham Forest where he fell out with Brian Clough and played just 19 games- maybe Revie & Clough did have something in common after all! Stan Bowles was one of the great talents of English football but it’s hard to escape the conclusion his drinking prevented him having a great England career, anyone who doubts this should check out his miserable efforts on Superstars, where he lost to James Hunt- a man who sat down for a living!
8. Alan Devonshire (8 Caps)
Devonshire became a West Ham legend, but in a generation where that didn’t guarantee and England career, just ask uncapped Billy Bonds! Devonshire was turned away by Crystal Palace as a 14-year-old for being too small and started his career in None League Football. But in 1976 Ron Greenwood signed him to West Ham for just £5,000. The following year Greenwood was with England whilst Devonshire was making his way at Upton Park in the Second Division. But by 1980 his stylish play brought him back to Greenwood’s attention and he won his first cap in May 1980.
But Devonshire was seen as very similar to Glenn Hoddle and Greenwood couldn’t accommodate both. Devonshire had to wait 2 more years to add to his 2 caps in May 1982, but again he missed out on a place in the tournament squad. Devonshire continued to thrill as West Ham and make odd England appearances for another 2 years until a serious knee injury ended any realistic England hopes. He still played 14 years for West Ham amassing almost 450 games, he now managed Maidenhead United in the National League
9. Mick Jones (3 Caps, 0 Goals)
Jones might just be the most under-rated player in English football history. Jones, a hardworking forward started with Sheffield United and won 2 England caps from Alf Ramsey whilst there. But the big move came in 1967 when he joined Don Revie’s Leeds. Jones made an immediate impact, providing a cutting edge in what was previously a tough tackling but unspectacular young side. With Jones scoring goals and linking with the likes of Peter Lorimer & Johnny Giles Leeds began collecting trophies and in 1969 won the clubs first League Title.
But with England awash with good strikers Jones was overlooked by England, but in the summer of 1969 he got a strike partner in Allan Clarke. Clarke’s poachers instincts combined with Jones’ strength and creativity made for the most deadly pairing of the early ’70s. Clarke got into England’s 1970 World Cup squad despite being uncapped but Jones was left behind. After the World Cup England had to make changes with the veterans of ’66 beginning to move out but despite Clarke being well established with England (he would win 19 caps) Sir Alf never looked to reunite the dominant Leeds strike pairing with England. Jones ultimately playedon to win The Fairs Cup, FA Cup and a second league title. But Jones got injured after Leeds’ 1974 title win and sat on the sidelines throughout their run to the 1975 European Cup Final, he never played top class football again.
10.Clive Allen (5 Caps,0 Goals)
The best player of the Allen Clan, Clive was one of several great English centre forwards of the 1980’s who might have had a long England career were not for the goal scoring feats of one Gary Lineker. Allen began with QPR in 1978 but he moved to Arsenal for £1.25million in 1980. But he bizarrely never played for the Gunners and was swapped out to Crystal Palace and was back at QPR a year later. But his goalscoring exploits got him and England debut in the summer of 1984 and he signed for Tottenham. Allen was quickly amongst the goals but missed out on a place in England’s Mexico ’86 squad as Lineker & Kerry Dixon got the goal poaching spots.
That summer saw Lineker left England for Barcelona and Allen became the First Division’s premier marksman bagging an astonishing 49 goals and won Footballer of the Year, as Spurs made the Cup Final. It inevitably brought Allen into sharper focus for England but he drew a blank when given his chance in a friendly in February 1988 and that turned out to be the last of his 5 caps. By that time Allen had moved on to Bordeaux for a successful but brief stay in France. Allen then bumped around clubs for the remaining 6 years of his career before hanging up his boots in 1995. But he produced a surprise final chapter in his career when in 1997 he became an American Football player and signed for the London Monarchs. Allen will always be remembered as a good striker who had one phenomenal season- but not in an international tournament year. Had he done so, who knows maybe Clive would be presenting Match of the Day?!
11. Charlie George (1 Cap)
Few football stars burned as brightly as Charlie George, but most burn longer. A rebellious player from the start, George broke into the Arsenal team in 1968 and was instrumental in Arsenal winning the 1970 Fairs Cup. He then got injured during the 70-71 campaign as Arsenal battled Leeds for the League title, but George returned for the run-in and scored critical goals in Arsenal’s run to the FA Cup Final. But with the League won by a single point, George made himself an Arsenal legend when he fired a spectacular winner in the Cup Final to secure The Double. George was Arsenal’s poster boy but Ramsey remained unimpressed and never called him up.
George’s club career started to hit the rocks after head butting Kevin Keegan but he continued to score and create goals despite Arsenal entering a decline over the next few years and with his own form on the wane he moved to Derby in 1975. He rediscovered his form at the Baseball Ground and scored a memorable hat-trick against Real Madrid and in September 1976 Don Revie handed him an England call. But George reacted badly to being played out of position and fell out with Revie and that was that with England.
His later career saw a spell in the North American Soccer League, a brief loan at Forest and a fitful spell at Southampton. George will always be lorded at Arsenal but alongside Bowles & Alan Hudson will be remembered as a maverick in an era when England feared flair players.
12. Earl Barrett (3 Caps)
Barrett wasn’t the greatest player but as we’ve said this is about how few caps you got relative to your peers and talent. So we start with Earl Barrett, for a right-back blessed with pace, a good cross and solid defensive play in an era after Gary Stevens & before Gary Neville it’s surprising he didn’t get more of a look-in. Barrett started with Manchester City and did well on loan to Chester. That brought him to the attention of Joe Royle’s Oldham. He joined the Latics in 1987 as Oldham started causing a stir in the Second Division. Barrett was an integral member of the side that made both the FA Cup semi-finals and League Cup Final in 1990, a year later Oldham were promoted to Division One. Barrett was rewarded with a call up in June 1991 but couldn’t establish himself in Graham Taylor’s plans.
But England suffered a Right-back crisis ahead of Euro ’92 with Rob Jones, Lee Dixon, Paul Parker, Gary Stevens and Mel Sterland all injured, yet Taylor overlooked Barrett in favour of centre-half Keith Curle- which went memorably pear-shaped. Barrett then moved to Aston Villa where he came close to winning the Premier League and won another 2 caps in the summer of 1993. But he wasn’t retained for the crucial World Cup qualifiers that autumn and that was the end of his brief England career. He did at least win a major trophy the following year with the 1994 League Cup
13. Dave Beasant (2 Caps)
Beasant’s career was real Roy of the Rovers stuff. Starting at Edgware Town he moved to 4th division Wimbledon in 1979. He would stay for the whole Crazy Gang ride from the bottom of the football pyramid to the first division and finally FA Cup winners. And it was Beasant Wimbledon had to thank- making history by saving a penalty from John Aldridge as they ran out 1-0 winners at Wembley.
Beasant developed a reputation as a good penalty stopper and was consistently amongst the top ‘keepers in the first division during the late ’80s. Eventually England came calling and in 1989 Beasant aged 30 and playing for Chelsea made his debut against Yugoslavia. He was initially left out of the Italia ’90 squad but an injury to David Seaman meant he got in as the number 3 ‘keeper. Beasant spent the entire tournament (even the 3rd place playoff game) on the bench, after the tournament he never represented England again.
The problem here was spending his early career in the lower divisions meant he stayed off the international radar and it took a few years in the top division before he was truly recognised as a top ‘keeper rather than a lower league player got lucky, he was clearly better than that and in a different era may have been number 1- specifically the era that saw David James get that gig.
14. Cyril Knowles (4 Caps)
Best known as the inspiration for the Cockerel Chorus hit ‘Nice One Cyril,’ Knowles was a prototype for the modern overlapping fullback. He started at Middlesbrough but was quickly spotted by Tottenham and moved to White Hart Lane in 1964. He quickly established himself in the Spurs team and his overlapping and pinpoint crossing ability made him a firm favourite at Tottenham. Between 1965 and 1969 he missed only one league game as Tottenham won the 1967 FA Cup.
By 1967 33-year-old Ray Wilson was coming to the end of his England tenure and Knowles would compete with Leeds’ Terry Cooper for the number 3 shirt. Knowles got his debut against the Soviet Union in 1967 and won 3 more caps over the next 7 months, but it was Cooper who prevailed. Knowles stayed in the Tottenham first team until 1976 winning 2 League Cups and a UEFA Cup in the process. He is widely regarded as Tottenham’s best ever left back, but his moment of cult fame arrived when ‘Nice One Cyril’ made number 14 in the UK Singles Chart in 1973.
15. Jonathan Woodgate (8 Caps)
Woodgate’s caps total was about right for the amount of football he played, but it’s a long way short of the potential he showed. Woodgate emerged in the Leeds Youth side that won the 1997 FA Youth Cup, alongside future internationals Alan Smith, Harry Kewell, Stephen McPhail & Paul Robinson. Woodgate was promoted to the first team by David O’Leary in 1998 and his combination of pace, aerial presence and sharp reading of the game made him one of Europe’s brightest young defenders. The following year he was Man of the Match on his England debut against Bulgaria and in the summer of 2000 Leeds qualified for the Champions League.
But that January Woodgate was charged with assault and affray after a student was beaten up outside a Leeds nightclub. During the legal process (that lasted almost 2 years), Woodgate faded out of the first team picture and although eventually acquitted of the more serious charge, the lost time on pitch proved costly as he became increasingly injury prone. But he regained his place at Leeds and England only to be moved to Newcastle during Peter Ridsdale’s fire sale. But he only stayed on Tyneside for an injury hit year and was then bizarrely snapped up by Real Madrid. Woodgate’s 2 years at the Bernabeu were a farce, he spent his entire first season injured and when he finally made his debut managed an own goal and a red card. After just 9 appearances in 2 years Woodgate was loaned back to his hometown club, Middlesbrough where he would stay for 2 years.
But in January 2008, aged 28 he finally got his career back on track with a successful spell at Tottenham. He picked up his only Winners medal after his Man of the Match performance in the 2008 League Cup Final. It got him belatedly back into the England reckoning. But Woodgate wasn’t to Fabio Capello’s liking and won just 3 more caps. Meanwhile his long-standing injury issues wouldn’t go away and he succumbed to a long running groin injury in 2010 and his career went into decline. Had Woodgate stayed clear of injuries (and trouble) and made good on his early promise he would have played 50 times for England, but his career will always be tinged by what might have been.
16. Lee Bowyer (1 Cap,0 Goals)
Based on talent Bowyer should have done far better than 1 cap, but his career highlights were shrouded in controversy. He cut his teeth with Charlton before getting a big Premier League move in 1996 with Leeds. Bowyer made a slow start and a fight in a burger bar was the most notable thing he did in his first year at Elland Road. But under George Graham and then David O’Leary he made himself an integral figure in a young team that was beginning to challenge Europe’s elite. In 2000 Leeds qualified for the Champions League with Bowyer contributing 11 goals, but he was also implicated in the same assault as Woodgate and faced charges of affray. Whilst Woodgate crumbled during the trial Bowyer excelled on the pitch. He then notched 6 goals in the Champions League during Leeds’ run to the semi-final.
His play was gaining comparisons to Roy Keane & Steven Gerrard, but he remained banned from England during the trial. He was acquitted in December 2001, but fell out with Leeds in the aftermath and his form dipped just as the 2002 World Cup came into view. That September he did make his England debut and provided the assist for Leeds teammate Alan Smith to score. But his problems at Leeds and the clubs mounting debts saw him sold to West Ham where he failed to reproduce his earlier form. He swiftly moved on to Newcastle where he is best remembered for getting into a fight on the pitch with Kieron Dyer before returning to West Ham & then Birmingham. In retirement Bowyer bought a Carp Fishing Lake and is currently Caretaker Manager back where it all began at Charlton.
17. Matt Le Tissier (8 Caps, 0 Goals)
He may have been ‘Le God’ to Southampton fans, but Matt Le Tissier never quite made believers of England managers. He emerged at Southampton in 1987 and by 1990 was picking up the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Le Tissier was already bagging 20 goals a season and his exquisite passing and creativity combined with an eye for the spectacular lead many to hail him England’s next big thing. On the downside he lacked athleticism and his work rate was frankly none existent.
Had Bobby Robson stayed on beyond Italia ’90 Le Tissier would have got his debut the following season, unfortunately for him Robson was replaced with long ball merchant Graham Taylor and Le Tissier was never going to be a fit with Taylor and had to bide his time. By 1994 Taylor had been replaced by Terry Venables and Le Tissier won an immediate call up. But Venables knew he couldn’t fit 2 luxury players in the team and Gazza was an automatic pick. Le Tissier couldn’t win Venables over and he was left out of Euro ’96.
But after the Euros new England boss Glenn Hoddle had doubts about Gascoigne’s wayward lifestyle and mounting injury problems, Le Tissier won a recall. But Matt again fluffed his lines in a qualifying defeat to Italy and Hoddle found new better drilled flair players in Paul Scholes & David Beckham. Hoddle then threw Le Tis a World Cup lifeline with a call up for England B, Le Tissier responded with as stunning hat-trick. Yet bizarrely despite Gascoigne’s World Cup hopes fading, Le Tissier missed out on a place in the provisional 30 man squad. After that Le Tissier’s career began to fade and he never again recorded a double-digit goal tally for a season. Across all competitions he played 541 games for the Saints and registered 209 goals, oh and won a shed load of goal of the month contests.
18. Lee Sharpe (8 Caps, 0 Goals)
The lightning quick left winger made an immediate impact but found his path often blocked by superstar teammates. He started at Torquay United in 1988 but after just 16 games was signed by Manchester United. But it was the 1990-91 season when Sharpe truly took off, his demon pace torched opposing right backs throughout the season and after displacing Danny Wallace in the side won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award. He also won his England debut from new boss Graham Taylor and press & pundits lined to up crown him England’s new great talent.
But Sharpe missed almost all of the following season through injury and another young winger took centre stage- Ryan Giggs, he played only 8 games that season and missed Euro ’92 . But the inaugural Premier League season saw a return to the team as United rotated Sharpe, Giggs and Andrei Kanchelskis. United won the League but Sharpe’s love of nightclubbing had irked Alex Ferguson who never seemed to fully trust the young winger. But Sharpe won an England recall that summer and the next saw him at his best and winning the League & Cup Double. He enjoyed a good 1994-95 season, including a spectacular goal against Barcelona, but United missed out on major honours and Ferguson made changes. With Giggs immovable on the left Ferguson turned to 21-year-old David Beckham on the right and Sharpe’s United career and England ambitions faded. The following summer he left for Leeds in a £4.5million move but shortly there after Howard Wilkinson was fired and subsequent Leeds bosses found a younger model for the left-wing in Harry Kewell. Sharpe faded into obscurity and the last thing of note he did was giving Jayne Middlemiss the brush off on Celebrity love Island.
19. Tony Morley (6 Caps, 0 Goals)
One of Aston Villa’s European Cup heroes, Morley went around the block a few times before making it big, but never quite made it with England. He started at Preston in 1969 and moved to Burnley before landing at Villa for £200,000 in 1979. Things clicked at Villa and Morley provided a flashback to the days of the maverick players of the ’70s with his dribbling and pace. In 1980-81 he scored the goal of the season as Villa stormed to an unlikely League Title and Ron Greenwood got interested.
Morley got his debut in England’s crucial World Cup qualifying win over Hungary in November ’81 and remained part of Greeenwood’s squad through the run up to Spain ’82. Meanwhile Morley continued his brilliant run of form for Villa and in May was in the Villa side that lifted the European Cup. But Greenwood had to make his final cut for Spain and was left with a dilemma- Morley or Arsenal’s Graham Rix. Rix had been an integral part of Greenwood’s side in qualifying and ultimately got the nod, Morley stayed home.
Sadly Morley’s promising career went into reverse after his World Cup snub and by 1983 he was out of the England squad and on his way to West Brom. Morley never recaptured his Villa form and bounced between The Hawthorns and a succession of clubs in farlung Tampa Bay & Singapore.
20. Kerry Dixon (8 Caps, 4 Goals)
The ’80s King of the Kings Road, Kerry Dixon was a goal machine for Chelsea. Two footed he was blessed with pace & aerial power. He started at Dunstable but caught the eye at Reading. In 1983 after 2 years in Berkshire he was on his way to London with Chelsea, where he formed an impressive front line with tricky winger Pat Kevin and the hardworking David Speedie. In the 1983-84 season he bagged 34 goals as Chelsea won promotion to Division One.
But is was in 1984-85 that he came to Bobby Robson’s attention when he hit 24 in the First Division making him equal top scorer with Gary Lineker. That summer Dixon got his England chance in a warm up tournament for the following years World Cup. He took it scoring twice in a 3-0 hammering of West Germany. But Lineker was also making waves with England and the two strikers looked set to duke it out for the Number 10 shirt in 85-86. But Dixon got injured in January whilst Lineker excelled with new club Everton and although both got in the squad Dixon was left on the bench, history tells us Robson got it spot on!
Post ’86 Dixon’s became increasingly injury prone and his pace started to wane. It would prove the end of the line for Dixon with England, whose final cap cam in September of that year. But he stayed with Chelsea for another six years and wound up their second highest scorer (at the time) with 147 goals.
21. Peter Osgood (4 Cap, 0 Goals)
The ’70s King of the Kings Road, Peter Osgood was a goal machine for Chelsea and hung out with Raquel Welch! Osgood made his Chelsea debut aged 18 in 1964. But it was in 1967-68 that he really made his mark, scoring 16 League goals for Chelsea. By 1970 Osgood was the most in form striker in England and hit 23 League Goals, but it was his strike in the bitterly contested Cup Final against Leeds that made him a Chelsea hero and brought him to the attention of Sir Alf.
He got his debut in February 1970 and was selected for the 1970 World Cup, but only made two substitute appearances. But he was dropped after the World Cup and had to concentrate on matters at Chelsea. Osgood’s playboy lifestyle irked Ramsey and club boss Dave Sexton and he struggled in the 1970-71 season. The following season saw a revival in form as he notched 18 in the League but Ramsey ignored his claims. It wasn’t until November ’73 with Ramsey on the ropes that Osgood got his fourth and final cap.
He only stayed one more year at Chelsea before departing for Southampton as his career declined. He was infamously banned from Stamford Bridge by Ken Bates in the ’80s but brought back into the club fold by Roman Abramovich. He died in 2006, but his statue now stands outside Stamford Bridge.
22. Joe Corrigan (9 caps)
Whilst Alex Stepney found his England chances diminished by Gordon Banks, Corrigan found himself in the bronze medal position in the Shilton/ Clemence contest to be number 1. Corrigan graduated from Manchester City’s juniors in 1967 and by 1970 at the age of 22 had replaced veteran Harry Dowd. He immediately won the 1970 European Cup Winners Cup & League Cup. With Shilton the preferred successor to Banks, Corrigan wasn’t on Sir Alf’s radar.
Don Revie preferred Clemence but needed a third choice and Corrigan finally made his debut aged 27, in 1976. Corrigan stayed within the set up after Revie’s departure the following year. But he was only used in friendlies and Home Nations Internationals. Corrigan played in total 9 times for England and made it to the World Cup in Ron’s 22 in 1982. He didn’t play a minute but presumably handled the third choice ‘keeper role of organising the darts tournament very well. Corrigan didn’t play for England after the World Cup and finally left City the following year after 602 appearances in all competitions. He headed to NASL to top up the pension plan, but in all he won 3 major cup competitions for City and is still highly regarded by the club.
23. Rodney Marsh (9 Caps, 1 Goal)
The greatest of the ’70s mavericks won just 9 England caps. Rodney Marsh was the poster boy of English football, but never the England team. He started at Fulham but it was at QPR that he came to national prominence, his dribbling ability combined with his goal scoring and pace made him a joy to watch.
He won the 1967 League Cup with QPR and in 6 seasons at Loftus Road hit 106 goals in just 207 games. He also got a belated England call from Sir Alf and was picked in November 1971 by now aged 27.
Then came the big transfer- he joined Manchester City who paid £200,000 for his services. But Marsh’s maverick ways weren’t in tune with City, nor was his fitness anywhere close to good enough. He joined just before the title run-in of 71-72 with City 4 points clear in the table, they finished third. Marsh was also struggling to fit with England and he played just 8 more times as Ramsey struggled to fit him into his system, often appearing to be used as a Geoff Hurst style forward.
But at City at least things did turn around and became a club legend. But in 1976 it was all over in England and he headed for Tampa in the NASL. Marsh was a phenomenal talent who just didn’t fit but will always be remembered as the king of the maverick footballers.
Honorable Mentions: Alan Hudson -2 Caps, Gary Stevens (Spurs)- 7 Caps, Tony Cottee- 7 Caps, Paul Bracewell- 3 Caps, Paul Goddard- 1 Cap, Colin Harvey -1 Cap, Cyrille Regis- 5 Caps, Dion Dublin- 4 Caps, Derek Statham- 3 Caps, Eric Gates- 2 Caps, Brian Clough -2 Caps, Frank Worthington- 8 Caps, Chris Sutton- 1 Cap.