Nat Lofthouse’s international record speaks for itself.
After scoring both of England’s goals on his debut in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia in 1950, the Bolton Wanderers striker went on to record an astonishing 30 goals in 33 games over the next eight years – just shy of a goal a game.
A brave and bustling frontman who was always a handful for opposition defenders, Lofthouse’s reputation was sealed when England travelled to play Austria in 1952.
After opening the scoring with a tremendous left-foot drive, the striker was injured thanks to some tough tackling from Austrian defenders.
However, with the scores level at 2-2, he shrugged off his knocks and raced half the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet to fire home the winner, getting flattened by the advancing Austrian keeper as a reward for his efforts.
Such heroics earned him the nickname ‘The Lion of Vienna’. Rough and ready treatment from some defenders failed to rattle a player who once said: “In my day, there were plenty of fellas who would kick your b****cks off. The difference was that at the end of the match they would shake your hand and help you look for them.”
A one-club man, Lofthouse scored 285 goals in 503 appearances for Bolton and was a life president of the Lancashire club.
He died on 15 January 2011 aged 85.