Ian Herbert: Why City's dominance is good news for the nation

Typical United. Just when Manchester City thought they might have equalled a post-war record for the most players in an England XI – six were on the field when Shaun Wright-Phillips ran on as substitute on Tuesday in Basle – the history books tell us the old enemy have already gone one better.

There were seven of Sir Alex Ferguson's charges wearing the Three Lions in Tirana nine years ago, when Teddy Sheringham arrived six minutes from time and the scoreline was Albania 1 Most of United 3. Liverpool also may feel they can curse United's modern-day record. If only Kevin Keegan had not left for Hamburg two weeks before England's 1977 goalless draw with Switzerland at Wembley they would have numbered seven, too. Keegan played but Bob Paisley's charges actually numbered only six.

Fielding six representatives is a remarkable feat – something achieved only three times before Tuesday night at St Jakob-Park – and one which, City supporters may be gratified to hear, in the past has reflected the honoured club side's place as the supreme force in British club football.

Paisley's all-conquering Liverpool side were still the country's dominant force in 1980 when a slightly different group of six played in England's 1-1 draw against Belgium. United had six for Sven Goran Eriksson's first game in charge – the 3-0 win over Spain at Villa Park, the month before going one better in Tirana. The five-man club includes Spurs, who achieved the feat in 1987 and 2006 as well as the 3-1 pre-Word Cup friendly against Mexico at Wembley; Chelsea twice and Manchester United once plus Liverpool on an occasion which gives them famous bragging rights – the 5-1 win over Germany in Munich in September 2001. England have only lost one international with five players from the same club – the Chelsea-heavy England's 3-2 defeat to Denmark at Old Trafford in November 2003.

So can City maintain this kind of presence? James Milner and Adam Johnson, as well as Joe Hart, ought to be fixtures for the arrival of Montenegro next month. Gareth Barry should give the returning Frank Lampard a run for his money, though with the memory of Barry's struggle against Germany in Bloemfontein hard to dispel, the suspicion is that Lampard is the man for the tougher occasion.

Still, Joleon Lescott's best performance for England and the security he and his former Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka provided demands that they be considered as an ongoing partnership. Wright-Phillips looks least like a future England player but if the fates and Roberto Mancini's powers combine, it is conceivable that these six could be present again, with Micah Richards to make it the magic seven.

Then City really would have something to shout about. But before anyone gets too carried away, a moment's thought and admiration, please, for the south-west London-based Corinthian Casuals. In 1894 and 1895 they twice provided the England team's entire eleven players. And they won. Match that, Sir Alex.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'