Bobby Charlton started his fantastic England career on this day.
The England career of the great Bobby (now ‘Sir Bobby’) Charlton started on this day 52 years ago. It lasted for 12 years, his tally of 106 caps an England record until Bobby Moore passed it three years later and his 49 goals a record that still stands.
Born in Ashington in the north-east, he joined Manchester United straight from school and scored twice on his League debut against Charlton Athletic as a teenager in 1956. He quickly became noted for his powerful and accurate shooting, England Manager Walter Winterbottom handing him his debut against Scotland on 19 April 1958.
Still only 20, he took to the field at Hampden Park only two months after the trauma of the Munich air disaster in which so many team-mates had been lost. The crowd was a colossal 127,874 and many eyes were on the United youngster. The guiding words of skipper Billy Wright and Tom Finney helped him contribute to a terrific 4-0 victory.
Charlton even netted England’s third goal before half-time. Finney bemused the Scottish full-back with his pace and skill, and when the cross came in, the debutant met the ball full on the volley near the penalty spot and blasted it past the ‘keeper. “A very proud moment for me and a lifetime ambition realised”, he said afterwards.
One of English football’s finest ambassadors, he was one of the stars of our World Cup-winning team in 1966 and won the top prizes with Manchester United – two League Championships, The FA Cup and the European Cup.