England All-Time XI: David Beckham headlines superstar squad

England All-Time XI: David Beckham headlines superstar squad

Updated Jun. 20, 2024 9:40 a.m. ET

The Summer of Stars kicks off on FOX with the European Championship in Germany and the United States-hosted Copa América. Both tournaments will feature the world's best soccer players, but how many of them are all-time great players?

To answer that question, FOX Sports has put together 11 all-time international teams, starting with England.

***All-time stats and records for individuals mentioned below refer to the men's national team games only

GK: Gordon Banks


(Photo by Don Morley/Allsport/Getty Images)

Caps: 73
Notable clubs: Leicester City, Stoke City

This was the easiest choice on the list. Peter Shilton had more England caps, but Banks was officially named the world's best keeper for six years straight and justified that status — or close to it — for virtually all of his international career. If you've never seen it, check out his mind-blowing stop from Pele in the 1970 World Cup. Ultra-dependable, technically outstanding, and with a knack for meeting the big occasion.

DF: Gary Neville

(Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Caps: 85
Notable clubs: Manchester United

Neville spent his entire club career with Manchester United but deserves as much acclaim for his efforts with England, where he was a stalwart at right-back before, during and briefly after its ultimately fruitless Golden Generation period. A reliable and consistent presence, who always felt that Euro 2004 was the greatest missed opportunity to win a major title in that era. Now one of England's most prominent television pundits.

DF: Bobby Moore

(Photo by Daily Herald Archive/National Science & Media Museum/SSPL via Getty Images)

Caps: 108
Notable clubs: West Ham United, Fulham, Seattle Sounders

No figure is more iconic in English soccer than Moore, the inspirational captain of the 1966 World Cup-winning team. A fearless leader, there's a statue of him outside Wembley Stadium — which pretty much says it all. Franz Beckenbauer and Pele said he was the most difficult defender they ever faced, despite Moore not being blessed with much speed or an abundance of flair. Spent 16 years with West Ham and had a short stint in the old American NASL. Even six decades on, you'll see replica 1966 Moore jerseys on fans' backs at England games. Died in 1993, at just 51.

DF: Terry Butcher

(Photo by Peter Robinson, PA Images via Getty Images)

Caps: 77
Notable clubs: Ipswich Town, Rangers, Coventry City, Sunderland

A symbolic choice in some ways, he epitomized tenacity and the photograph of his head and jersey drenched in blood during a 1989 qualifier speaks volumes about his bravery and resilience. Others might have gone for John Terry — who was stripped of the England captaincy for having an affair with a teammate's ex — or Rio Ferdinand, who never played a Euros, partly due to a drug ban. Butcher was a stalwart for England during the 1980s, played in three World Cup campaigns, and deserves his spot here.

DF: Ashley Cole

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Caps: 107
Notable clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Roma, LA Galaxy

A tough choice here, because Cole was not always popular among England fans, but his 107 caps and sustained performances over 13 years speak for themselves. Once described by Cristiano Ronaldo as his toughest opponent, he was among the pioneers of a new type of defender, possessing more speed than most attackers and plenty of creative ability. Was prolific for both Arsenal and Chelsea — following a contentious move across London — and had a stretch with the LA Galaxy before retirement.

MF: David Beckham

(Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Caps: 115
Goals: 17
Notable clubs: Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain

For all the off-field spotlight, the truth remains that no one cared more about playing for England than Beckham, who displayed unwavering commitment to his country from the time he made his international debut aged 21. Six years as captain coincided with one of England's most talented eras, despite its inability to land a trophy. His England time had no shortage of unforgettable, iconic moments; the red card against Argentina in 1998, sure, but also an incredible free-kick against Greece to secure qualification for the 2022 tournament, and a redemption penalty against Argentina in the group stage that year.

MF: Bobby Charlton

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Caps: 115
Goals: 49
Notable clubs: Manchester United, Preston North End, Waterford

One of the stars of 1966 — Charlton overwhelmed Portugal in the semifinal — he was a forceful and deftly-skilled midfielder who shined equally in helping Manchester United win the European Cup for the first time and in his long England career. England fans of advanced years still have nightmares about the decision to rest him while England led West Germany 2-0 in the 1970 quarterfinal, sparking a German comeback. Scorer of 49 goals in 106 England games and one of the figureheads of a cherished era for English soccer.

MF: Paul Gascoigne

Caps: 57
Goals: 10
Notable clubs: Newcastle United, Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, Everton

"Gazza" captured the hearts of the nation with his memorable performances in the 1990 World Cup, including his infamous tears after being yellow carded in the semifinal. Charismatic, outrageously skilled and lovably cheeky, he was a phenomenon whose career would surely have sparkled even brighter if not for untimely injuries. He was superb at Euro 1996, with a spectacular goal against Scotland at Wembley and remains an iconic figure through a series of personal troubles post-career.

FW: Gary Lineker

Caps: 80
Goals: 48
Notable clubs: Leicester City, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham

Narrowing this section down to three was painfully difficult, with legends such as Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Jimmy Greaves and 1966 final hero Geoff Hurst missing out. But it was still impossible to cut Lineker, the top scorer at the 1986 World Cup and a striker of absolute quality. A soccer rarity in that he was never yellow or red carded, he scored heavily wherever he went, including spells at Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham. His excellence at international level continued in the 1990 World Cup, only for England to suffer penalty kick heartbreak against West Germany.

FW: Harry Kane

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Caps: 91
Goals: 63
Notable clubs: Tottenham, Leicester City, Bayern Munich

England's all-time leading scorer and a calm, understated captain, the fact that Kane still has not won a trophy for club or country remains a modern soccer mystery. Will spending the past year at Bayern Munich provide an edge in Germany this summer? Under Kane, England has never gone into a tournament with optimism as high as this one, even three years ago when most of their Euros games were on home soil. A pure striker who continues to prove that the classical position still has merit, he's the best to do it — anywhere — in recent times.

FW: Wayne Rooney

(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Caps: 120
Goals: 53
Notable clubs: Everton, Manchester United, D.C. United

Rooney became England's youngest ever player when he made his debut in 2003 and is still the country's youngest starter and youngest goalscorer. He continued to be a powerful and determined servant to the national team for the next 15 years, and no outfield player has played more times for England than Rooney's 120 caps. His 53 international goals was another England record until Kane broke it. His most remarkable tournament performance was his first, four goals as a 17-year-old at Euro 2004, an event England would have had a great shot at winning had Rooney not gotten injured in the quarterfinal against Portugal.

Honorable Mentions

Jimmy Greaves, Alan Shearer, Stanley Matthews, Kevin Keegan, John Terry

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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