With over 75 caps for England across a 13-year period, and trickery that mesmerised his entire generation, John Barnes was undoubtedly one of the best players to ever put on a Three Lions shirt. Having been a keen viewer of the England set-up since his international debut in 1983, we asked him to select the best England XI of all time. This is John Barnes’ All-Time England XI.
Gordon Banks (GK)
1963-1972 (73 caps)
Not only was Gordon Banks a World Cup winner, he was a brilliant goalkeeper. A truly excellent shot stopper and such a commanding presence in goal.
Phil Neal (RB)
1976-1983 (50 caps)
Not only for defensive work, as a full back he also scored a lot of goals for both club and country. With over fifty goals during his career, he was a very offensive defender for his generation. Neal also created plenty of opportunities for the forwards in the team.
Bobby Moore (CB)
1962-1973 (108 caps)
Bobby Moore must be there, not just in terms of winning the World Cup but for his abilities as an all-round footballer. He could have been a modern player in terms of his abilities as a defender, he was so good on the ball.
Duncan Edwards (CB)
1955-1957 (18 caps)
A player who could have played at centre back and centre forward. When you speak to players like Sir Bobby Charlton, they say he was an immense player who could do everything and be anywhere on the pitch. Unfortunately, if it wasn’t for the Munich Air Disaster, Duncan would have gone on to have a long and successful career playing for England.
Ashley Cole (LB)
2001-2014 (107 caps)
Ashley Cole to have the career that he did and rack up over 100 caps for England, for a left-back, that is such an impressive achievement. There are not many other left backs in football, who have accomplished as much as he did. A fantastic player.
Stanley Matthews (RM)
1934-1957 (54 caps)
When you watch videos of him playing, he doesn’t look as if he’s running fast. At the time, he was one of the best in the world, whilst playing in his 40s shows what a great athlete he was.
Steven Gerrard (CM)
2000-2014 (114 caps)
My favourite England player of modern time. If you think of Martin Peters and any player who’s played in the past 50 years for England, you know, Steven Gerrard would be right up there with them.
Bryan Robson (CM)
1980-1991 (90 caps)
Bryan Robson is a player who could play anywhere, he could do anything. He was so good that he could have played in any era, even now. Robson was great at attacking, and at defending. He had a great tenacity, was strong in the air, and a fantastic creator.
Sir Bobby Charlton (LM)
1958-1970 (106 caps)
A lot of people don’t know that Bobby Charlton started out wide and came into the middle into the latter stages of his career. Bobby gets into this team purely for them number goals he scored, the caps we got with England and for winning the World Cup. What he did with Manchester United and England has made him one of the most respected people in football. Players both past and present have great admiration for him.
Wayne Rooney (ST)
2003-2018 (120 caps)
Another one of my favourite England players in modern time. Wayne Rooney had over 100 caps for England and is currently England’s all-time record goal scorer, a truly marvelous player.
Jimmy Greaves (ST)
1959-1967 (57 caps)
Although Jimmy Greaves might not have got the most caps, unlike the others in the team I have picked, his goals to caps ratio for England is brilliant. Across an eight-year international career, Jimmy racked up 44 goals in 57 caps, people still talk about his finishing today. He was a player who really stood out.