Former 'keeper Dave Beasant looks back at England old and new as FA prepare for 150 celebrations
Dave Beasant has spoken of Italia ’90 as a ‘fantastic tournament’ and one of his best England memories, as The FA begins the celebrations of its 150th anniversary this week.
The Wimbledon legend has been looking back on England old and new ahead of The FA150 official launch in London on Wednesday.
The 1988 FA Cup winner was in Sir Bobby Robson’s England squad that reached the Semi-Finals of the World Cup, where only a penalty shoot-out defeat to West Germany denied the Three Lions a place in the World Cup Final.
And the 53-year-old still has fond memories of the competition, which saw the emergence of Paul Gascoigne as a world star and some memorable matches to boot.
He said: “I only made the squad because David Seaman had broken a finger so I got my chance behind Peter Shilton and Chris Woods.
“It was a fantastic tournament to be a part of and Bobby Robson was brilliant to be around as he was such a good man-manager.”
England topped Group F with a 1-0 win over Egypt, after draws against Ireland and the Netherlands.
David Platt’s famous volley saw off Belgium in Round Two and a pair of Gary Lineker penalties dispatched Cameroon 3-2 in extra time at the quarter final stage.
“We changed our tactics as we progressed through the tournament and that was because Bobby would talk to the players and get their opinions on the next game,” added Beasant.
“Bryan Robson was injured in the Holland group game so that forced us into making changes early on.
“But Bobby’s strength was that he’d speak to players like Gary Lineker, Mark Wright and Peter Beardsley and get their thoughts on the opposition before making his own decision.
“And it proved to be a successful way of doing things as we made it all the way to the Semi-Finals.”
Former goalkeeper Beasant also believes that current incumbent Joe Hart is the perfect role model for emerging keepers, as England look to make the 150th anniversary year one to remember.
He added: “Joe Hart has made steady progress since moving from Shrewsbury to Manchester City.
“And I’m sure his Champions League experience over this season and last has been really beneficial for his international career.
“I’m really impressed with Joe and he could go on and break all sorts of England records.”
With two caps to his name after being largely a back-up ‘keeper to the likes of Shilton and Seaman in his England career, Beasant knows exactly what is needed by those players trying to push Hart.
And he was pleased to see fellow stoppers John Ruddy and Jack Butland make their England debuts last year.
“Ruddy has done very well because he’s managed to play for England with a smaller club like Norwich City and he hasn’t had much Premier League experience,” he explained.
“It wasn’t long ago that he was playing in the Championship with Norwich so he’s made great progress.
“Jack Butland has come through the system quickly and it will be interesting to see how he develops as he’s still in the Championship with Birmingham City.
“I didn’t get an England cap until I played for Chelsea and I’m a big believer that you have to be testing yourself at the very highest level to be improving week in week out.”