England's record goalscorer and one of the most popular players to ever wear the
England's record goalscorer and one of the most popular players to ever wear the Three Lions, Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton picks his team in TheFA.com's search for the ultimate all-time England line-up...
There are few people in world football, let alone the English game, who carry the amount of respect Sir Bobby Charlton does. Having survived the Munich Air Crash, Charlton helped inspired Manchester United to the European Cup and England to the World Cup.
Along the way, records tumbled - he played for United more than anyone else (606 appearances) and scored more goals for England (49). Crucially, he was loved for his gentlemanly conduct on the pitch - not to mention his ferocious shot and comb-over hairstyle.
Although Sir Bobby shared in the glory of 1966 and named five players from Sir Alf Ramsey's World Cup squad - Banks, Wilson, Moore, Armfield and Greaves - in his Greatest XI, there is also room in the team for a modern superstar.
"Michael Owen is a marvellous player and I would have been delighted to play alongside him," says Sir Bobby.
"Besides being a gifted player, he is a level-headed person who handles the fame and pressure very well.
"He has been named European Player of the Year and there aren't many Englishmen who have achieved that. I first saw him play as a 16-year-old and it was obvious then he was a great talent. He has gone onto prove it."
Arguably the most poignant pick in Sir Bobby's team is Duncan Edwards who perished in the Munich air crash at the age of 21.
"He was incomparable, I feel terrible trying to explain to people just how good he was," he says.
"His death was the biggest single tragedy ever to happen to Manchester United and English football.
"I always felt I could compare well with any player - except Duncan. He was such a talent, I always felt inferior to him. He didn't have a fault with his game."
Sir Bobby Charlton's Greatest Ever England XI
Goalkeeper - Gordon Banks (1963-72) 73 caps, 0 goals
Won the World Cup in 1966 but is perhaps even better known for a save he made four years later against Pele in Mexico. He kept 35 clean sheets for England and might have won more caps but for a car accident which saw him lose sight in one eye.
Right-back - Jimmy Armfield (1959-66) 43 caps, 0 goals
An elegant defender who could use the ball, Armfield was a loyal one-club man with Blackpool who went to the 1962 World Cup and was also a member of the 1966 squad as understudy to George Cohen. Fans still hear him as a Radio 5 summariser.
Central defender - Bobby Moore (1962-73) 108 caps, 2 goals
Moore won three major cup competitions at Wembley in successive years, the FA Cup in 1964 with West Ham, Cup-Winners Cup in '65 and then the World Cup the following year. Tragically died of cancer in 1993 and the age of 51.
Central defender - Billy Wright (1947-59) 105 caps, 3 goals
The first name on the England teamsheet for more than a decade, Wright made history by becoming the first international to pass the magic 100 caps. His marriage to pop star Joy Beverley of The Beverley Sisters was the 1950s equivalent to Posh & Becks.
Left back - Ray Wilson (1960-68) 63 caps, 0 goals
One of Sir Alf Ramsey's heroes of '66, Wilson oozed class and had been a Wembley winner two months before the World Cup - with Everton in the FA Cup. Started his career as a forward which explains why he usually looked comfortable on the ball.
Winger - Stanley Matthews (1934-57) 54 caps, 11 goals
Football's first knight, Sir Stan was known as the Wizard of the Dribble and was famous in all four corners of the globe before the advent of colour television, let alone the internet. As a teenager he helped England beat World Cup holders Italy and he went onto become his country's oldest international at the age of 42.
Midfield - Johnny Haynes (1955-62) 56 caps, 18 goals
Haynes played with Sir Bobby at Fulham and was regarded as the best passer of his generation. Fulham valued him highly and after the maximum wage was abolished in the early 1960s, Haynes became the game's first £100-a-week footballer.
Midfield - Duncan Edwards (1955-57) 18 caps, 5 goals
Many shrewd judges believed Edwards was destined to be England's best ever player when he was tragically killed in Munich at the age of 21. He combined power with skill and was the greatest of Manchester United's Busby Babes, happy in several positions.
Winger - Tom Finney (1947-59) 76 caps, 30 goals
No lesser an authority than Bill Shankly regarded Finney as the best player he had ever seen. For a wide player, his goalscoring record was phenomenal. Nicknamed The Preston Plumber, he was twice voted Footballer of the Year in 1954 and 1957.
Striker - Jimmy Greaves (1959-67) 57 caps, 44 goals
The most-natural finisher of them all, Greaves scored on his debut for every team he played and England was no exception - scoring in a 4-1 defeat in Lima against Peru. Played in the 1962 World Cup but injury cruelly saw him replaced by Roger Hunt midway through the 1966 tournament.
Striker - Michael Owen (1998- ) 53 caps, 24 goals
If he continues at his current rate, the 23-year-old could end up beating Peter Shilton's record number of caps and Sir Bobby Charlton's number of goals. Burst onto the scene at 18 with a World Cup classic strike against Argentina and has been the first-choice attacker ever since. Scored in last year's World Cup quarter-final v Brazil.
Sir Bobby Charlton was talking to Joe Bernstein
Total votes so far (after 11 nominations)
11 - Bobby Moore
9 - Bobby Charlton
8 - Duncan Edwards, Stanley Matthews, Bryan Robson
7 - Gordon Banks, Tom Finney
6 - Jimmy Greaves
5 - Ray Wilson
4 - Jimmy Armfield, Gary Lineker, Peter Shilton, Billy Wright
3 - David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne, Johnny Haynes, Kenny Sansom, Alan Shearer
2 - Tony Adams, George Cohen, Neil Franklin, Phil Neal, Michael Owen, Stuart Pearce
1 - Roger Byrne, Glenn Hoddle, Geoff Hurst, Kevin Keegan, Tommy Lawton, Nat Lofthouse, Alf Ramsey, Chris Waddle, Des Walker