Sir Stan played his last England match on this day 53 years ago.
The incomparable Stanley Matthews (above right), knighted in 1965, has been one of English football’s greatest ambassadors. His England career spanned a record 22 years and he made the last of his 54 appearances in official internationals on this day in 1957.
‘Sir Stan’ was 42 years 103 days old when he was chosen to play at outside-right in a World Cup qualifier against Denmark in Copenhagen. England won 4-1.
He had made his debut at 19, scoring in a 4-0 win over Wales in Cardiff in 1934. He finished with eleven England goals.
He won 18 caps with Stoke City and 36 with Blackpool. He is particularly remembered for his FA Cup exploits with the Lancashire club, featuring on the losing side in The Finals of 1948 and 1951 but winning gloriously in ’53. At the age of 38 his dazzling wing-play set up Bill Perry for the last-minute winner against Bolton and a genuine sporting hero was clutching his winners’ medal at last.
He played in the World Cups of 1950 and 1954, and would have been delighted to end his international career with a victory before 45,000 fans.
A Danish team that included three Hansens, three Jensens and two Nielsens had held England to 1-1 at the break – but the visitors went on to win 4-1 with goals from Tommy Taylor (two), Johnny Haynes and John Atyeo.