Gary Lineker said, on retiring one goal short of Bobby Charlton’s international goalscoring record, “Bobby deserves to keep the record. He was a much better player than me and scored far better goals.”
A nephew of Jackie Milburn and brother of fellow England star Jack Charlton, Bobby was an established part of the Manchester United set-up by early 1957.
He was lucky to escape largely unscathed from the Munich air disaster a year later, and soon found himself at the heart of the club’s rebuilding process despite being only 20.
An England call-up followed that same season, and Charlton’s reputation as a skilful attacking midfielder with a fierce long-range shot grew rapidly. He scored hat-tricks against the USA in 1959 and Mexico two years later.
Charlton hit the target against Argentina in the 1962 World Cup Finals, but it wasn’t until four years later that England’s moment of glory would arrive. He scored both goals in the semi-final win over Portugal, and did a decent job of nullifying Franz Beckenbauer in the Final.
After that, the goals kept coming – including two in the 1968 European Cup Final, when Charlton captained United to a memorable 4-1 victory over Eusébio’s Benfica at Wembley.