As England approach game #1000, Opta have uncovered some facts and figures for us

Tuesday 12 Nov 2019
Billy Wright leads England out against Scotland as he becomes the first player to reach a century of caps
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Ahead of England’s 1000th men’s senior international, against Montenegro on Thursday, our friends at Opta have been working on some special stats from across our 999 games so far…

The results

- England have won 568 of their 999 matches, with their first win a 4-2 victory over Scotland in March 1873 at Kennington Oval in London.

- England’s heaviest defeat was in May 1954, losing 7-1 away at Hungary in Budapest under Walter Winterbottom, just six months after losing 6-3 against the Hungarians at Wembley.

- England have played in 24 major tournaments (15 World Cups, 9 European Championships), with their one tournament victory coming in 1966 when the World Cup was held in England. They have only failed to qualify for one of their last 12 tournaments, finishing third in their qualification group for EURO 2008 behind Croatia and Russia.

- England’s best run of wins was between 1908 and 1909, winning 10 games in a row with a sequence that started and ended with wins over Austria. Post-war, England’s longest run has stood at eight matches, achieved twice – between March and September 2003 and October 2005 and June 2006.

Where it all began: An advertisement for England's first game, against Scotland in 1872


England’s homes

- England have played 288 games at Wembley, 248 more than they’ve played at any other stadium. Between April 1924 and April 1951, England only faced Scotland at Wembley – the first non-Scottish team to face England were Argentina in May 1951, a 2-1 win.

- Before Wembley, England’s home matches were shared between 36 different stadiums. In total, England have played a home international on 53 grounds, with Old Trafford the most played at bar Wembley, hosting 17 home internationals. There’s been none there since the new Wembley was opened in 2007 with the last international being a 1-0 defeat to Spain in February 2007.

- The two grounds England have played on most without losing are Solitude in Belfast (W6 D2 L0) and Anfield in Liverpool (W7 D1 L0), where England are yet to lose in eight matches. England haven’t played an international at Anfield since March 2006, when they beat Uruguay in a friendly. The last competitive international played there was in March 2001 against Finland in a World Cup qualifier, a 2-1 win.

Alf Ramsey scores against Hungary's 'Magical Magyars' at Wembley, a bright spot in what is still our biggest home defeat - 3-6


The players

- In total, 1244 players have made an England international appearance since the first game in November 1872 against Scotland. Nine of those have gone on to reach 100 caps, while 356 players have remained on only one cap.

- Goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the record for the most caps, earning 125 in total between 1970 and 1990. Among outfield players, Wayne Rooney has played the most games with 120 appearances between 2003 and 2018. The first player to reach 100 caps was Billy Wright, who captained the side against Scotland in a 1-0 win in April 1959.

- Three of the five youngest players to appear for England have done so this century. The record for youngest player was held by James Prinsep (17 years, 252 days) between 1879 and Wayne Rooney’s emergence in 2003. Rooney’s record was later broken by Theo Walcott in May 2006 (aged 17 years, 75 days), who continues to hold the record to this day.

- The oldest player to appear for the Three Lions is Stanley Matthews, who faced Denmark in 1957 aged 42 years, 103 days in his 54th and final appearance, with the record previously held by 41-year-old Alexander Morten since March 1873. Only one other player has featured aged 40 – record appearance holder Peter Shilton.

- 219 players have appeared for England in major international tournaments (European Championships and World Cups) since England appeared at the 1950 World Cup. The record appearance holder at tournaments is Ashley Cole, who played 22 matches in five separate tournaments (World Cup 2002, 2006, 2010 & EURO 2004 and 2012). Although Cole holds the record for most appearances, three players have played in more tournaments – Sol Campbell, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney have all played in six.

England's players celebrate with the World Cup in the aftermath of their 4-2 win over West Germany at Wembley in 1966


- England’s first substitute was Jimmy Mullen in a May 1950 friendly away against Belgium (he also scored). The player with the most sub appearances for the national team is Jermain Defoe, who has played 35 games from the bench, ten more than any other player. The player with the most games exclusively as a sub is Carlton Cole (seven caps in 2009 and 2010).

The clubs

- Five players have made an appearance for England while playing for five different league sides – David James, Scott Parker, David Platt, Peter Shilton and David Watson.

- The first player to appear for England while playing for a non-British club was Gerry Hitchens in May 1962, who was playing for Inter Milan at the time. In total, 27 players have won an England cap while playing for a non-British team, with David Beckham making more appearances than any other player of this kind (55 games at Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan).

- Jordan Henderson holds the England record for most consecutive unbeaten appearances, losing none of his 30 games between September 2014 against Norway and the 2018 World Cup quarter-final against Sweden, before ending on the losing side against Croatia in the semi-final.

The names

- The most common surname to play for England is Smith, with 20 different Smiths playing for England, including in the first ever international in 1872 (Arnold Smith). The most recent Smith to play for England was Alan Smith in November 2007 against Austria, with no Smiths appearing in England’s last 140 matches. After Smith, the next most popular surnames are Brown and Johnson (nine players each).

Smith  20 
Johnson
Brown
Jones 
Wilson 7
Roberts  7
Wright  7
Allen 
Taylor 
Lee 
Watson 
Hill 

The goals

- 429 different players have scored for England, with the first player to do so William Kenyon-Slaney in March 1873 against Scotland, in which he scored a brace in what was his only appearance.

- England’s record scorer is Wayne Rooney, who scored 53 times between 2003 and 2018. Rooney is the only player to score 50 goals for England, with Bobby Charlton previously holding the record of 49 goals until Rooney broke it with a penalty against Switzerland in September 2015.

England's record goalscorer Wayne Rooney, with second-highest Sir Bobby Charlton


- There have been 83 hat-tricks scored for England, with the first two scored in the same game against Ireland in February 1882, with Arthur Brown scoring four and Howard Vaughton netting five in the 13-0 win. 13 players have scored more than one hat-trick for England, with Jimmy Greaves holding the record with six overall, one ahead of Gary Lineker.

- The record for consecutive appearances scored in for England is held by Steve Bloomer, who scored in each of his first ten internationals, netting 19 goals in the process. In the post-war era, current captain Harry Kane holds the record, scoring in six in a row between October 2017 and July 2018.

- Rooney is also the youngest player to score a goal for England, scoring aged 17 years, 317 days against Macedonia in September 2003 in a European Championships qualifier. Prior to Rooney, the record holder had been Michael Owen in 1998, with Owen the first player aged under 19 to score for England, doing so against Morocco.

Gary Lineker in action during 1986, the year he scored a hat-trick against Poland in the World Cup


- The two players with the most England goals in a calendar year are George Hilsdon and Dixie Dean, who each hit 12 goals. In the post-war era, Peter Crouch holds the record with 11 goals in 12 appearances during 2006, when he found the net in seven different games.

- Three players have scored hat-tricks in major tournaments – Sir Geoff Hurst against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final, Gary Lineker against Poland at the 1986 World Cup and Harry Kane against Panama in last year’s World Cup. Lineker holds the record for goals at major tournaments for the Three Lions with 10 in 18 appearances, followed closely by Alan Shearer on nine.

The Gaffers

- Between 1872 and 1939, England didn’t have a specific manager, with the team selected by an Internal Selection Committee. In 1946, Walter Winterbottom was appointed as England’s first manager, a role he held for 16 years, still a record length of time for an England manager to this day.

- 19 different managers have taken charge of England, with four doing so on a temporary basis (Joe Mercer, Howard Wilkinson, Peter Taylor and Stuart Pearce). The first two managers – Winterbottom and Ramsey – averaged 126 games between them; since then, the 13 permanent managers have averaged just 39 games each – exactly the number Gareth Southgate has managed currently.

Terry Venables, pictured with assistant Bryan Robson, was in charge of England between 1994 and 1996


- The manager with the best win percentage for England is Sam Allardyce, who won his one and only game in charge against Slovakia in September 2016. Among the managers with at least ten games in charge, Fabio Capello has the best win ratio, winning 28 of his 42 games in charge (67%).

- Only one permanent manager has ever lost his first game in charge of England – Alf Ramsey lost 5-2 against France in February 1963. Each of the last ten have all won their first matches in charge, a run stretching back to Graham Taylor in 1990.

By FA Staff