The legendary Preston Plumber, one of football's greats...
Sir Tom Finney: The legendary Preston Plumber, one of football's all-time greats, picks his team in TheFA.com's search for the ultimate all-time England line-up. Sir Tom has a unique advantage over every other judge - he personally knows all the leading candidates...
My Greatest Ever England XI - Sir Tom Finney
Tom Finney is that rarest of breeds - a genuine living legend.
Of all the England stars helping us to pick this country's greatest XI, Tom alone has met all the leading candidates. He played with quite a few of them as well.
Still in good health and living near his one and only club Preston North End, Finney played 76 times for England, scoring 30 goals.
He formed a wing partnership with Stanley Matthews that was known throughout the world. When manager Walter Winterbottom played both men for the first time, Finney unselfishly agreed to switch to the left flank - and England hammered Portugal 10-0.
Finney was Double Footballer of the Year in 1954 and 1957 but always had a 'day job' - running a plumbing and electrical business.
"I was in Manchester doing a job when the news came through of the Munich Air Crash," he recalls.
"It shook us to the core when we found out Duncan Edwards had been badly injured." Edwards later died from his injuries but makes Finney's team. "There was so much more to come from him," says Finney.
Some in Finney's XI were team-mates - like Tommy Lawton and Matthews.
Others, like Bobby Moore, he watched develop from teenagers.
"The FA asked me to take an England youth side to Australia and New Zealand after I retired and we had an 18-year-old lad on the tour called Bobby Moore," he says.
"I had never heard of him before but it didn't take me long to mark him out as an outstanding prospect of the future."
Finney makes Tommy Lawton the 32nd international to get a vote in our Greatest XI survey. "He was ideal for winger - so powerful in the air," he says.
1950s centre-back Neil Franklin also makes the side despite having his England career cut short by going to play in South America.
"When he came back, nobody wanted to know him. I even tried my manager at Preston to sign him but none of the top clubs would touch him and I think he ended up at Hull City."
Finney has great admiration for modern players as well and a certain David Beckham is included with the stars of yesteryear.
"Going to Real Madrid was a huge test. I wasn't sure how he would cope but he has fitted in so far and remember he is alongside the best players in the world. They wouldn't have him there unless he was good enough."
Goalkeeper - Gordon Banks (1963-72)
73 caps, 0 goals
"Just gets the edge over Peter Shilton and Frank Swift, who was the best in my day. Banks was very consistent but could also come up with unbelievable saves," - Tom Finney
Right-back - Jimmy Armfield (1959-66)
43 caps, 0 goals
"He was a cool customer and people can't forget he was in the 1966 World Cup squad, which is the greatest triumph we've had in English football"
Central defender - Bobby Moore (1962-73)
108 caps, 2 goals
"I saw first-hand at 18 on a tour of Australia what an outstanding prospect he was. He was extremely stylish and was able to read a situation perfectly"
Defender - Neil Franklin (1947-50)
27 caps, 0 goals
"Very confident on the ball, just like Bobby Moore. He went to South America for the money but didn't make his fortune. A real tragedy in many ways because he was formidable in the air and awesome on the ground"
Left back - Ray Wilson (1960-68)
63 caps, 0 goals
"I really rated Ray. He was quick, good in the tackle and his distribution was good as well. Just what you wanted in a your left-back and he deservedly won the World Cup"
Winger - Stanley Matthews (1934-57)
54 caps, 11 goals
"It's no secret Stan rarely headed the ball and only had one foot. But his skill put him on a different level to other players and to carry on playing as a winger until he was 50 will never be matched"
Midfielder - Duncan Edwards (1955-57)
18 caps, 5 goals
"A tremendous prospect, I certainly think he would have been a great player had he played longer. I was in Manchester when we heard the United side had crashed and several had been killed. It was a shock to everybody, not just football people"
Midfielder - David Beckham (1996- )
64 caps, 13 goals
"His passing and ability at set-pieces would have been admired by any generation. Has really proved he is a special talent by going to Real Madrid and winning the Spaniards over so quickly"
Midfield - Bobby Charlton (1958-70)
106 caps, 49 goals
"An automatic choice in any side. He worked hard for the team and was very precise with his passing. Bobby made his debut against Scotland as a forward, I remember because it was one of my last games! He was left-footed so would be useful in this team"
Striker - Jimmy Greaves (1959-67)
57 caps, 44 goals
"The greatest finisher of them all. When he went one-on-one with the goalkeeper you could shut your eyes because you knew he would put it in the net. I remember losing 5-4 at Chelsea with Preston - and he scored all five. Just has the edge on Shearer because he was a bit quicker."
Striker - Tommy Lawton (1939-49)
23 caps, 22 goals
"The best I saw. He was an elegant player, good in the air and a good finisher, strong and forceful. He was a great target man for anything put in the box. A really powerful header of the ball, the war interrupted his England career but he still scored a-goal-a-game"
TOTAL VOTES SO FAR (after 9 nominations)
9 votes - Bobby Moore
8 - Bobby Charlton
7 - Duncan Edwards, Stanley Matthews, Bryan Robson
6 - Gordon Banks, Tom Finney
5 - Jimmy Greaves
4 - Ray Wilson
3 - Jimmy Armfield, Gary Lineker, Kenny Sansom, Alan Shearer, Peter Shilton, Billy Wright
2 - David Beckham, George Cohen, Neil Franklin, Paul Gascoigne, Johnny Haynes
1 - Tony Adams, Roger Byrne, Glenn Hoddle, Geoff Hurst, Kevin Keegan, Tommy Lawton, Nat Lofthouse, Phil Neal, Michael Owen, Stuart Pearce, Alf Ramsey, Des Walker
Sir Tom Finney was talking to Joe Bernstein
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