From the early pioneers of football to the modern-day heroes, the UK has produced some of the world’s greatest players. With each passing generation, new names have emerged in an ever-changing landscape of talent and style. But who are truly England’s footballing legends? We’re counting down from 10 to number one – presenting the definitive list of UK’s Greatest Ever Footballers! So whether you’re a die-hard fan or just interested in sporting history, get ready for an exciting journey through time as we explore some of football’s biggest stars!
Here we count down the top ten British footballers of all time, based on both their international and club performances. While some giants of the game, such as Pele or Zidane, hail from other countries, it is impossible to ignore the impact that these British players have had on the sport around the world.
Here we take a look at the tenth spot in our countdown and meet David Beckham – one of the most successful English footballers of all time. Not only did he reach great heights with Manchester United, but he also starred for England in both major tournaments, helping his country to glory on European soil in 2006 and then reaching another final four years later. Beckham’s dominance on the pitch earned him numerous accolades and titles along the way, making him not just one of England’s greatest ever footballers but also one of Britain’s most famous sportsmen.
10. Alf Ramsey (England)
Alfred Ramsey was an English footballer who played in the Football League for West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City. He later managed both clubs. Ramsey is recognised as one of the greatest footballers in the history of the English game, and he is regarded as one of the game’s most influential managers. Following his retirement from playing, he served as manager at West Bromwich Albion from 1980 to 1986, before taking charge of Birmingham City from 1987 to 1990. He won two league titles with each club, before leaving to take charge of Portsmouth. His subsequent managerial appointments include spells at Fulham (1991–1993), Liverpool (1994–1996) and Ipswich Town (1997–1999). In 2002, he was appointed manager of Qatar national team and won their first ever FIFA World Cup campaign in 2006. Ramsey was appointed manager of England following the resignation of Bobby Robson on 6 October 2004 and led England to the 2006 World Cup where they were runner-up. He resigned on 31 May 2006 after a 0–0 draw against Switzerland that eliminated England from qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
Ramsey amassed over 350 appearances in all competitions for West Bromwich Albion between 1964 and 1974 scoring 68 goals making him their third highest scorer behind Tony Brown and Cliff Bastin. After his retirement from playing, he became Managing Director at The Hawthorns but left a year later to become manager at West Bromwich Albion where he had great success winning them their first League Championship in 29 years in 1980, followed.
9. George Best (Northern Ireland)
George Best was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 25 December 1947. He started playing football as a youngster and quickly rose to fame, playing for various teams before joining Manchester United in 1968. With the Red Devils, Best won numerous titles including four Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. In 1974, he moved to Barcelona where he continued to play until his retirement in 1981. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times and is widely considered one of the best players of all time.
Best passed away on 25 May 2005 at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer. His legacy continues to be celebrated today – not only as one of the greatest footballers ever but also as an inspirational figure who helped lift many people out of poverty and hardship.
8. Bobby Charlton (England)
Bobby Charlton was an English football player and manager who spent his entire playing career with Manchester United. He is considered to be one of the greatest midfielders of all time and is regarded as one of the greatest British players of all time. He also won awards as a manager, including 13 Premier League titles and 5 FA Cups with Manchester United. Charlton was knighted in 1993 and retired from playing in 1974.
7. John Terry (Chelsea FC)
Number 28 on the list is John Terry, who enjoyed a distinguished career with Chelsea FC. The defender was part of the side that won the Premier League and FA Cup in 2005 and 2006 respectively, whilst also claiming the Champions League in 2007. His 100 appearances for England is also a record which he holds firmly. Terry retired from professional football at the end of the 2014-15 season.
6. Busby Babes [Manchester United]
The Manchester United Busby Babes were an incredible group of footballers who graced the game in the 1950s and early 1960s. Consisting of George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona and Jackie Wilson, these players helped to make Manchester United one of the most successful clubs in England. They competed in some amazing domestic and European competition during their time together, putting on brilliant displays that are still remembered today.
Best was undoubtedly the team’s biggest star, and he is rightly considered one of the best British players of all time. He was a goalscoring force and helped United to win numerous trophies during his time at Old Trafford. He also won a European Cup with club rivals Real Madrid later on in his career. Law was another key member of the team, and he was very proficient in defence as well as midfield. He was named Footballer of the Year three times and remained a loyal servant to United until his retirement in 1973. Charlton was another important player for United and he played at both right-back and center-back during his career. Cantona is perhaps best known for his time at Manchester United, where he became one of the club’s most iconic figures. He scored many goals during his tenure with the club, including memorable strikes against Liverpool and Newcastle Falcons.
Wilson was the final member of the Busby Babes squad and he enjoyed arguably the best spell of his career during this period. He scored 67 goals for Manchester United between
5. David Beckham ( LA Galaxy, England)
David Beckham, a retired English professional footballer, is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most iconic British footballers of all time. He played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy and England, winning numerous honours including 12 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles. Beckham also reached the final of the FIFA World Cup twice, losing to Brazil on both occasions. He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Beckham announced his retirement from professional football in May 2013 after a decade-long career. He continues to be involved with club football as a ambassador for Manchester United, LA Galaxy and England. In September 2014, he became the first person ever to be appointed global ambassador for both United and Nike.
4. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
Ryan Giggs has enjoyed an illustrious career as a footballer, spanning over twenty-one years at Manchester United. He has won thirteen Premier League titles and four FA Cups with the club, as well as being named the Welsh Player of the Year in 1994 and 2003. He also represented Wales at international level for sixteen years, making 131 appearances and scoring 44 goals. Giggs is widely considered to be one of the greatest ever footballers and is now a coach with Manchester United’s reserve team.
3. Paul Gascoigne (Newcastle United, England)
Paul Gascoigne is without doubt one of the greatest British footballers of all time. He began his career with Newcastle United, before moving to Tottenham Hotspur and then England national team. He was part of the generation that won the World Cup in 1990, as well as Euro 96.
Gascoigne had a number of problems with alcohol and drugs, but he was able to return to top form at Club Brugge in Belgium. After a spell at Rangers, he retired from professional football in 2003 but continues to play for charity organizations.
2. Bobby Moore
The English footballer Bobby Moore was famously and impossibly successful on the pitch.
Finally, some of the 1966 World Cup-winning squad members are coming back. Moore was not just a part of the team, he was the captain who led them to glory. Bobby Moore is one of the best defenders of all time and even the great Pele considered him as one of the greatest defenders he ever faced. He was a composed central defender, best known for his game sense. Bobby Moore is arguably England’s best defender ever and he was also included in the World Team of the 20th Century.
Bobby Moore is also West Ham’s greatest player ever. He played 600 times for the Hammers in a 16-year tenure, winning the FA Cup and UEFA Winners’ Cup.
No. 1 Alan Shearer
Shearer started his professional career with Blackburn Rovers and ended it as the top-scorer in Premier League history. He was announced as an inductee of the Premier League Hall of Fame and is arguably the best Premier League striker of all time.
Alan Shearer had a less impressive start with the England senior team. He managed to score only five goals in his first 23 games. However, he began to pick up pace in the 1996 Euros, scoring five goals in the tournament, making him the top scorer. Overall, he went on to score 30 goals in 63 appearances for England – a good record.