For Wolves and England Under-21s: Six Molineux heroes

Sunday 05 Oct 2014
Steve Bull celebrates another goal for Wolves

One of England’s most famous internationals is Billy Wright, a one-club man who turned professional with Wolves in 1941 and stayed at Molineux until retirement 18 years later.

He was the first player to reach 100 caps for England, reaching the milestone against Scotland at Wembley in 1959.

On Friday, the Molineux focus is on our England Under-21 team, who played their first-ever match at that famous old ground 38 years ago, when we entertain Croatia in the first leg of our European Championship play-off.

A number of Wolves players have represented England at Under-21 level and we put the spotlight on half a dozen of them…Steve Bull, Michael Kightly, Matt Murray, Joleon Lescott, Richard Stearman and the late Dean Richards.

England v Croatia

UEFA Euro U21 Championship
Play-off first leg
5.45pm, Friday 10 October
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Live on BT Sport
Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets

STEVE BULL, born on Tipton’s Moat Farm estate, was a Molineux legend who scored 306 goals in 561 competitive games. He notched a record 52 in the 1987-88 season. For England he scored three in five games for the Under-21s, two in five for the ‘B’ team and four in 13 for the Seniors. The last player to be capped for England from outside the top two tiers even managed a goal on his debut – against the Scots before a 63,000 crowd at Hampden.     

MICHAEL KIGHTLY, another forward, was rejected by Spurs as a schoolboy but was spotted by Wolves playing for non-League Grays Athletic. He became a vital player at Molineux and was pivotal in the club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2009. ‘The Ryan Giggs of Non-League’ picked up seven England Under-21 caps, making his debut as a starter in the friendly against Romania in 2007. He switched to Stoke City in 2012 and is now at Burnley.

MATT MURRAY was a 6’5” goalkeeper who spent his whole career at Wolves. His time was blighted by injuries – to knee, foot and back – and he was forced to retire at 29. He was only able to make 87 League appearances in his 12 years with the club. He was capped five times for the Under-21s, initially against Slovakia in 2003. Since retiring he has worked as a match reporter and in-studio summariser for Sky Sports News.  

JOLEON LESCOTT, born in Birmingham, has been capped 26 times for England’s Seniors as a player with Everton and Manchester City but he began with Wolves – making his first-team debut at 17 and winning the ‘Supporters’ Player of the Year’ award – and represented England twice at Under-21 level during his six years at Molineux. He has also played for England’s U17, U18, U20 and ‘B’ teams.   

RICHARD STEARMAN is a versatile defender who was born in Wolverhampton but joined Leicester City after being spotted playing for local side Harborough Town. He was capped for England’s U16s, U17s and U19s with Leicester and then signed for Wolves in 2008. His four U21 appearances included a start against Germany at Euro 2009.

DEAN RICHARDS was a defender who started with hometown club Bradford City before a four-year stay with Wolves, joining for a fee that rose to £1.8m. He was capped four times for Ray Harford’s England Under-21s in the Toulon Tournament in 1995, making his debut as captain against Brazil. In 2011 he passed away at the young age of 36 after a long-term illness.

Tickets for the Croatia game are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children via the Wolves Ticketline on 0871 222 1877 or online here.

The Squad

Jonathan Bond (Watford), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Sam Johnstone (Manchester United).

Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur),  Luke Garbutt (Everton), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham United, on loan from Arsenal), Michael Keane (Burnley, on loan from Manchester United), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, on loan from Newcastle United), Liam Moore (Leicester City), Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

Lewis Baker (Chelsea), Tom Carroll (Swansea City, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Will Hughes (Derby County), Thomas Ince (Hull City), Alex Pritchard (Brentford, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City).

Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough, on loan from Chelsea), Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).

By David Barber FA Historian