No place for Rooney in British team of all-stars

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney may be England's saviour - but the teenage striker would not make it into the greatest home nations team, according to football experts.

Journalists and broadcasters, including The Independent's Football Editor Glenn Moore, were asked to pick the best XI from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - and no current players were selected.

The initiative was introduced to coincide with three of the four original home nations being in the same qualifying group for World Cup 2006. Chris Hull, a spokesman for the Nationwide building society, who commissioned the poll said: "[The qualifying group] almost feels like a return to the much-loved Home Nations' Championship.

"Nationwide, as an official backer of all four football associations, has canvassed the views of an extensive panel of UK football journalists and broadcasters on their favourite home nations team of all-time.

"They have provided a player for each position in a designated 4-4-2 formation and the initiative has been fascinating. We hope this will provide debate in the workplace, football grounds, pubs and clubs up and down the country.

"It is interesting to note that no current international players feature in the all-time greatest side. Although, if the same question was posed in a couple of years' time, just maybe the name of Wayne Rooney would be included in some of the team selections. All players who have played an international game for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales - past or present - were eligible for selection."

Jimmy Greaves, Kenny Dalglish of Scotland and Northern Ireland's George Best were named in the team. Greaves, who scored 44 goals for England in 57 appearances and Dalglish, who scored a joint-record 30 goals for Scotland in 102 matches lead the attack.

Three members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team are included: goalkeeper Gordon Banks, captain Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton who scored a record 49 goals for England in 106 matches.

Best, who was capped 37 times by Northern Ireland, is supported in midfield by his old Manchester United colleague Charlton, England's Tom Finney and Scotland's Dave Mackay. The Scot made only 22 appearances for his country over nine years and notched four goals. Finney made 76 appearances in an international career spanning 12 years from 1947 to 1959 scoring 30 goals.

Moore is joined in defence by stalwart Danny McGrain. The Scotland full-back was capped 57 times during two decades with Celtic. He made his debut for Celtic in 1970 and won the Scottish League five times, the Scottish Cup four times and the Scottish League Cup once. He was also voted Scottish Player of the Year in 1977.

Also in defence is the legendary John Charles of Wales. Charles, who played at both centre-back and centre-forward, moved to Juventus for a then record fee of £67,000 in 1957. He scored 93 goals in 150 games for the Italian side, but it was in defence where he was truly rated. He was capped 38 times for Wales.

Completing the defence at left-back is England's Stuart Pearce, who won 78 caps between 1987 and 2000.

England's World Cup winning defender Ray Wilson, Scotland's other joint-scoring record-holder Denis Law and Sir Stanley Matthews are among the substitutes.