England vs Montenegro: Wayne Rooney, David Beckham or Bobby Moore? Our writers select their all-time XI

Ahead of England men’s 1000th international, our team of writers have selected their all-time elevens

Miguel Delaney
Thursday 14 November 2019 13:52
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England's 1000th game in numbers

England’s men will play their 1000th international when they take on Montenegro tonight, 147 years since their opening game against Scotland.

Since then they have won 568 times, scored 2,188 goals and won the World Cup once.

The 19 different England managers have selected a staggering 1,244 players – with Leicester City’s James Maddison poised to become number 1,245 – but who makes our all-time XI?

We asked six of our writers to name their line-ups, with five men selected by every single writer to take part.

But there was a lot less agreement over the two strikers to lead the line – while opinion was split over who should partner Bobby Moore in the heart of defence. Here’s our composite XI, followed by the individual verdict of each of our writers.

Miguel Delaney

England’s size and history means qualification is the usual standard, so this should really be about the elite: tournament performance. All of these players reached a greater level of impact on the greatest stage.

Mark Critchley

England will be playing four-four-fucking-two. As a right-footer forced out of position in his prime, Tom Finney is the earliest and finest example of that perennial 'left-sided problem'. It is odd that the all-time leading goalscorer should feel like the other contentious pick, but peak Wayne Rooney gets in ahead of Jimmy Greaves and Michael Owen on all-round ability.

Vithushan Ehantharajah

An XI that's very much a product of my own eyes, and a bit of heart, too. As ever, the left-sided conundrum was one that got me stuck. And needing to play Bryan Robson for a bit of fight in central midfield, Bobby Charlton been shifted out there. He'd do it much better than Scholes and complain a hell of a lot less.

Ben Burrows

Bobby Moore and John Terry would've been a fun partnership to watch, but no better than Gazza and Bobby Charlton in the middle of the park. Wayne Rooney and Gary Lineker would've enjoyed the service from Matthews and Finney too, you'd think.

Luke Brown

This is a team of icons. Terry Butcher at the back in his blood-stained shirt. Paul Gascoigne getting up to all sorts of mischief in the middle of the park. And up front the only two Englishmen to win the Golden Boot in World Cup history: Gary Lineker and Harry Kane. I’m sorry but record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney has to miss out, as I picked my team under the assumption this mythical England XI will be playing a tense World Cup semi-final against either Germany or Argentina, rather than another 5-0 qualification win over Lithuania at Wembley (💅💅💅).

Tom Kershaw

It’s the widely accepted back-five, although Sol Campbell could make a case for not being far off. The standard-bearers of the golden generation - David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard - never truly rose to the international stage in the same way as their predecessors and, while Gary Lineker, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer could all feel aggrieved not to feature upfront, none boasted the longevity of Rooney or prolific strike rate of Greaves.

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