With England’s first clash of Euro 2020 almost upon us and Southgate ready to trust the 26-man squad he chose to lead the nation to victory, it seems the perfect time to get all nostalgic about England players of the past.

Below a selection of England fans attempt to build their Dream XI – using players from the past and the present. Some even dig deep into the history of the England football team in order to find their man. The only rule? The player must have won at least one England cap, sorry Mark Noble.

Laura’s XI (@LauOLau)

Laura’s Explanation: A reliable back-four, a creative midfield duo, and then the powerful attacking force that would be Steve McManaman, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, and Harry Kane on top of that, other nations would run scared of this England team. The only hard decision? Peter Shilton or Gordon Banks…but that save against Pele sees him make my dream England XI.

Daniel’s XI

Daniel’s Explanation: Shilton is easily the greatest goalkeeper England have ever had, and the current all-time cap record holder. Most would choose Banks over Shilton as he was the last keeper to win a major trophy with England, however, Shilton is still untouched on most clean sheets. As for the position of left-back, it’s a tough decision choosing between Ashley Cole and Stuart Pearce. Nobody can deny that Pearce displayed more passion while playing for his country, but Cole was just simply untouchable. The ‘Steven Gerrard vs Frank Lampard Rivalry’ has always caused controversy and it’s definitely a tough choice on who was better for the national team (no question on club level – Lamps) however Lampard is arguably one of England’s greatest talents this century and easily earns a place in any team. Yet Gerrard also makes the cut as while I would have loved to throw Paul Scholes into the mix, he rarely turned up for the Three Lions. As for why I picked Rooney, he is hands down the greatest forward England have ever produced and while he is now England’s all-time top scorer instead of Bobby Charlton, the World Cup winner also makes the cut as he was generations ahead of his time. It’s another tough decision when it comes to selecting a second striker for my side as so many have produced and have great arguments for a place in this squad. Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves… the list could go on. But as England fans, we have to believe that ‘This year is our year’ and if that is to happen for Euro 2021 (2020 technically), it will largely be down to the contributions from Kane.

Jon’s XI (@jonjsquires)

Jon’s Explanation: Shearer and Lineker up front, two of the greatest strikers, and they would have arguably scored more goals for England had they played as much football as the national team does now. David Seaman in goal, brilliant shot-stopper, and arguably one of the best in the Premier League, has the same clean sheet % as Shilton. 

Pauline’s XI (@MiniTweetster)

Pauline’s Explanation: With a no-nonsense back-four, that includes both Pearce and Terry Butcher, no one would get past my defence and live to tell the tale. My England Football team then features some of the most creative players in the country’s history and with Kane as well as Lineker, both who have Golden Boots to show off, my side is bound to score goals for fun. 

George’s XI (@george_brooks96)


George’s Explanation: Bobby Moore is England’s World Cup-winning captain and is one of the greatest defenders of all time. Alongside Moore is John Terry, another natural leader and a proper old-school, no-nonsense defender. It was tough to leave out Rio Ferdinand, but I feel he has similar qualities to Moore in terms of his class and confidence on the ball. Plus Terry scored more goals for England. John Barnes and Paul Gascoigne are two of the most intelligent and technically gifted players to ever represent England, while Beckham provided some truly iconic moments in an England shirt,  so those three also make my team. The controversial choice here is obviously Scholes. Scholes fell victim to England’s array of midfield options and was often played out of position on the left, leading to his early international retirement. While his England career never reached the heights it should have, he gets the nod ahead of Gerrard and Lampard, two of the so-called golden generation, as they failed to show their best form in an England shirt. I’ve opted for Shearer alongside Rooney up front. Shearer is the Premier League’s all-time top scorer and he did the business for England at Euro 96. It was difficult to leave out Lineker because of what he achieved for England at World Cups, but Rooney is England’s all-time top scorer, so he deserves to start alongside him.