The most popular of players in any football team is the man who scores the most goals. The player who has scored most goals for England is Wayne Rooney who scored 53 goals from 118 appearances. Yet the player who has been widely regarded as the leading England striker over the years has been Gary Linekar.
In 80 appearances for his country Linekar scored 48 goals. He made his debut with his hometown club Leicester City and in his club career he also played for Tottenham Barcelona and Everton. In 460 club appearances he scored 238 goals and at the 1986 World Cup he became the only Englishman to win the Golden Boot. He was one of the first British players to become an overseas success and his 42 goals from 103 La Liga appearances, was a British record until it later became broken by Wales’ Gareth Bale.
Alongside Linekar in the England team during this time was Paul Gascoigne. Described by his England manager Bobby Robson as being as “daft as a brush” Gascoigne was one of the best midfield players in the world when he was wearing an England shirt. The goal he scored against Scotland at the 1996 European Cup game at Wembley was described as the best goal in the tournament. In the 1990 World Cup semi-final game against Germany he actually cried on the pitch, After being booked he realized if his side won the game he would be banned from the final.
He won 57 caps for the England team scoring 10 goals. He made 388 club appearances scoring 83 goals and he appeared in the Italian League, the Scottish League and even appeared in the United States. Where-ever he played he was idolized by the home supporters for the genius he would regularly display on the pitch.
Another player who was regarded as highly as Paul Gascoigne, but was a Northern Island International, was George Best. Playing for Manchester United in the 1960s and early 1970s some of Best’s performances were mesmeric.
Born and raised in Belfast Best joined Manchester United at the age of 15 making his debut at the age of 17. He as a pure winger and his skills confused opposing defenders and he made his way quickly to the top of the game. He scored 179 goals for the club in 470 appearances but his high celebrity started to take precedence over his career. He became an icon of the swinging 1960s and no London party would be complete without Best turning up. He frequently dated Miss World contestants and sadly his social activities did have a major impact on the later years in his career.
In the 1966 European Cup winning campaign Best was at his best. He scored the second goal in the 4-1 final win over Benfica and at the end of that season he was voted as the world player of the year (Ballon d’Or). He won 37 caps for Northern Ireland scoring 9 goals.
A player who did get the very most out of his career in the Football league was Scotsman Kenny Dalglish. He had already played over 200 times for Celtic before Liverpool signed him in 1977 for 440,000 pounds which was then a transfer record.
Brought in to replace Kevin Keegan Dalglish fitted in immediately. The Scotsman combined incredible natural talent with consistent high performances. He never appeared to have a bad game for the Liverpool side and in 355 appearances he scored 118 goals.
His time at the club coincided with the most successful period of the clubs history and he made a vital contribution to these trophy winning years. As well as performing so well for his club he also won 102 caps for Scotland scoring 30 goals. Following his playing career he had a highly successful career as manager at both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers. He is now deservedly idolized on Merseyside.