It would be a travesty if Jimmy Greaves’ England career were remembered more for a game he didn’t play in rather than the many that he did.
In 1966, the Tottenham Hotspur striker – at the time comfortably the country’s most prolific goalscorer – had to sit on the sidelines and watch his team-mates in the World Cup Final after picking up a shin injury against France earlier in the competition.
Ironically, the man who took Greaves’ place, Geoff Hurst, scored a hat-trick in the Final as England won the Cup.
But when Greaves did play for England, he usually scored, amassing a hugely impressive tally of 44 goals in 57 games, including six hat-tricks – a record that stands to this day.
In one five-game streak in 1960/61, he scored eleven goals. He was famous for always scoring on his debut, and his first national team appearance was no exception; he notched England’s only goal during a 4-1 defeat by Peru in May 1959.
After starting his playing career at Chelsea, Greaves had a short spell overseas with AC Milan in 1961, but didn’t settle and signed for Spurs in December of that year.
He scored over 200 goals in 321 games in a nine-year spell at White Hart Lane and broke the club scoring record for a season with 37 goals in 41 League games in 1962/63.
He also became the first player to top the First Division scoring charts for three consecutive seasons between 1963 and 1965.