'England's new centurions, the two Bobbys and Gazza'

Thursday 30 Oct 2014

Roy Hodgson says he rates England's recent centurions alongside legendary stars of the past as the Three Lions' best players.

Speaking at a question and answer session with a group of Club Wembley members, the England manager was asked about his favourite Three Lions players.

Hodgson was joined at the event at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham, organised as part of the Club Wembley Connections programme, by his assistant Ray Lewington and Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate.

“To win 100 caps with England is such a great achievement”

Roy Hodgson England Manager

The trio were quizzed on a host of England matters, including their hopes for the upcoming games with Slovenia and Scotland and the Under-21s European Championship next summer. 

And they all got a chance to have their say on member Mike Brown's question: who do they regard as the greatest England player of all-time?

"This is always a tough one," said Hodgson. "I will look at the generation I got to understand and know, the generation that won the World Cup, and you'd be hard pushed to go beyond Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton.

"But then you come to the generation now, and I'd tend to look towards the players who I have worked with who have got 100 caps."

Since Hodgson took the helm with England in 2012, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have all joined the exclusive 100-club, while current captain Wayne Rooney is just one game away from becoming the ninth and latest member.

"To win 100 caps with England is such a great achievement, because we don't throw caps away here," he added.

Lampard received his golden cap before the England

Frank Lampard receives his golden cap for 100 games

"For the Gerrards, the Lampards, the Coles, the Rooneys to rack up 100 caps for their country is incredible.

"They've had to do it in a time when people are more critical than they were in the 60s when Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore were playing. They were more kindly treated than our stars of today.

"But I'll stick with the Bobbys, and I'll also go for the four who I've been lucky enough to work with and been able to appreciate their qualities."

Southgate chose two players he figured alongside in a Three Lions shirt. 

The former Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough man made 57 appearances for England from 1995 to 2004 and, during that time, a pair of midfielders in particular stood out.

"The most talented was Gascoigne and I don't think it's a coincidence that we made two semi-finals and he was involved in both. 

"All of the top players in the world have the ability to beat people with the ball and he could do that, as well as being able to score with either foot.

"He didn't fulfill what he might have done, but played in the two most successful England teams of the last 40 years."

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne's tears at Italia '90

Southgate added: "The other one would be Paul Scholes. Technically he was an incredibly gifted player with an unbelievable appreciation of passing. 

"He always had an awareness of what the player receiving a pass had to deal with, so the weight of his pass was spot on.

"He could play a five-yard pass or a 50-yard pass with the same thought and quality - and was a goalscorer too." 

Ray Lewington agreed with Southgate, on Gascoigne but also highlighted Steven Gerrard for praise.

The former England skipper retired from international football following the World Cup, but having worked with him for two years, Lewington believes the Liverpool midfielder was one of this country's finest ever players.

"Gascoigne, in terms of calibre, without doubt. Pure talent. But the other one for me is Steven Gerrard.

"He was fantastic for England, and we know because we've worked with him. He's also a fantastic guy, and Steven in his prime is right up there with the very best of English."

The exclusive Q&A lunch in Fulham was part of the Club Wembley Connections programme, which has given members the opportunity for breakfast discussions with Gary Neville and Michael Vaughan, executive golf days, hospitality at Premier League matches and concerts, among a host of other benefits.

For more details about Club Wembley, click here.  

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor