Trevor Brooking – or Sir Trevor, as we should all perhaps call the man knighted for services to sport in 2004 – made 47 appearances for his country over an eight-year period, playing under four different managers, yet he never really got the chance to shine at an international tournament.
Brooking’s first cap coincided with Sir Alf Ramsey’s last game in charge, and Joe Mercer and Don Revie also recognised the value of his intelligent attacking play.
Then came the reign of Ron Greenwood, his old boss at West Ham United. With England having missed out on qualification for the previous two World Cups, the 1982 Finals should have been Brooking’s finest hour.
Unfortunately, he and Kevin Keegan were both struggling to recover from injury when the tournament began, and Greenwood only dared to bring the pair on for the last half-hour of the final group game against Spain.
That was long enough for Brooking to force one excellent save from Luis Arconada, but a 0-0 draw ended England’s campaign.
Never sent off, Brooking was a cultured footballer with superb passing skills, and Keegan described him as “the kind of luxury every team ought to afford.”
He was also a one-club man, turning out 636 times for the Hammers.