Top 10 British Soccer Players
Britain has produced some great players over the years. Here is a list of 10 of the best.
1. Bobby Moore
Regarded by many as one of the greatest defenders of his generation, Bobby Moore was a revered defender who gained respect around the world for the way he played. Although he was the fastest or best in the air, he was nonetheless an exceptional defender and an intelligent soccer player.
He is the only Englishman to captain England to World Cup glory in 1966, when he was just 22. Moore earned a total of 109 England caps, 90 of those as captain and is the true embodiment of a strong leader and captain. To many England fans he is the greatest player to have played for England.
Pele has even said that Moore was the toughest player that he has ever faced.
2. Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton was a vital player during England’s World Cup success and another legend of English soccer. Charlton was a fantastic player renowned for his attacking prowess and passing ability as well as his long range shooting which often lead to goals from midfield.
Until his record was recently broken by Wayne Rooney he was the record goalscorer for England with 49 goals in 106 games. For Manchester United he won many honours including three league titles and the FA Cup and European Cup.
3. George Best
George was seen as one of the most skillful players around and considered by many pundits to be the best dribbler in the history of the sport. He was also considered to be the best player to have never played at a World Cup.
Best received many plaudits for this playing style, which combined skill, pace, balance, goal scoring and the ability to get past defenders with such ease. He was arguably the world’s first soccer superstar, due to his high popularity and good looks, not to mention to his superb talent on the pitch. Even though he retired early on in his career at 28 he was a brilliant player, winning the league and European cup with Man United as well as the Ballon d’Or.
4. Gordon Banks
Britain’s greatest ever goalkeeper and one of the main reasons England won the World Cup.
Banks didn’t concede a goal from open play on the way to the World Cup final. Known for his acrobatic saves and flawless handling, Banks is most famous for ‘The Pele Save’ in the 1970 World Cup against Brazil in what is considered by many to be the greatest save in history.
Diving low to his far right, Banks stretched to reach Pele’s goal bound header. With Pele already celebrating what had appeared to be a certain goal, Banks not only managed to save the shot but to flick it over the bar to safety. Pele himself saying “it was the greatest save I have ever seen.”
5. Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker was often regarded as one of the best goal scorers around. He was a prolific goal machine and scored goals at the top-level for Leicester, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham and England. His calmness and courage in front of goal made him as sharp a finisher as any player in the world.
He managed to score 48 goals for England, 10 of which were at World Cups. Even though he had a long and successful career of 16 years, Linekar never received a single yellow or red card.
6. Stanley Matthews
Nicknamed ‘The Wizard of Dribble’, Stanley Matthews was an icon for nearly 30 years. He was widely considered one of the greatest right footed dribblers and even had a final named after him. A pacy and tricky winger Matthews spent his entire career with Stoke and Blackpool, playing beyond his 50th birthday, a feat that seems impossible in today’s game.
He had an undeniable effect on how the game evolved through attacking play. As one of the few British players to have won the Ballon d’Or, he is the most influential players to have played the game. He remains the only British player to receive a knighthood while still playing.
7. Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs is the most successful British player of his generation, having won 24 major trophies during 24 years and nearly 1,000 appearances at Manchester United. He spent his entire career at the same club playing under one manager, Alex Ferguson, a rarity in today’s game.
Giggs was an integral player for Man United, playing as a left-winger, known for his blistering pace and skill. In later years however, he would play a deeper role.
8. Kenny Dalglish
Kenny Dalglish is widely considered to be Liverpool’s greatest player by fans and teammates. He is still idolised by fans who refer to him as ‘King Kenny.’ Playing as a forward he was an immediate success, scoring the winning goal in the European Cup final in his first season.
Dalglish formed a formidable strike partnership with Ian Rush. This was a goldern era for Liverpool, winning the league 8 times and European Cup 3 times. He was widely admired throughout the game, with many notable admirers. Among his admirers were Franz Beckenbauer and Alex Ferguson.
Beckenbauer called him “one of the best players in the history of soccer.” Alex Ferguson once said of Dalglish: “he had unbelievable strength and vision. He is a man I shall always respect.”
9. Jimmy Greaves
Jimmy Greaves was one of the most prolific English goalscorers of all time. Not only is Greaves still the record goalscorer for Tottenham, he still holds the record for most goals scored in the English top flight with 357. For England, he ranks third in the all-time goalscorers list with 44 in just 57 games and has scored the most hat-tricks for England with 6.
10. Wayne Rooney
As England’s record outfield cap holder and goalscorer, Wayne Rooney is one of the best British players of his generation. Rooney first broke onto the international stage aged 18 at Euro 2004 scoring 4 goals in the tournament.
He is also Manchester United’s all time leading goal scorer and the only player to score more than 250 goals for the club, which he achieved in January 2017, breaking Bobby Charlton’s longstanding record.