“What can you say about Peter Shilton? Peter Shilton is Peter Shilton, and he has been Peter Shilton since the year dot.”
Former England manager Bobby Robson’s quote is both comically nonsensical and yet also sums up perfectly a player whose record-breaking achievements meant he needed no introduction.
One of the game’s greatest goalkeepers, Shilton’s ability was matched by his longevity – he played 1,390 times for eleven clubs during his career, finally calling it a day well into his late forties.
He remains England’s most-capped player, making 125 appearances in a 20-year career, a tally that would have been significantly larger had it not been for the presence of fellow legend Ray Clemence, with whom he alternated in the England goal during the 1970s and ‘80s.
‘Shilts’ was a brilliant shot-stopper who bossed his area and was renowned for his dedication to training. In his 125 games between the sticks, England won 66 times, conceded only 80 goals, and he kept a record 65 clean sheets.
He bowed out on a high in 1990, helping the Three Lions to reach the World Cup Semi-Final, the team’s best showing since 1966.
Shilton’s domestic career was littered with honours, most notably at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest from 1977 to 1982, where he won the League Championship, the League Cup, the European Cup twice and was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1978.