A recurring talking point for any England fixture coverage is whether Harry Kane will become the all-time England top goalscorer. The Spurs number nine currently sits in sixth position in the leaderboard with 32 goals in just 45 games, an incredibly impressive goal to game ratio. So, who are the five England top goalscorers ever?
Five England top goalscorers of all time
5. Michael Owen (40 goals)
At just 33-years-old, Michael Owen retired after a rollercoaster of a career. The former Galactico was either in flying form and scoring goals for fun or sat in a rehabilitation centre recovering from an injury, there was no real inbetween. Owen played in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and scored crucial goals in each tournament.
The ex-Liverpool and Newcastle forward is most notably recognised on the international scene for his unbelievable solo goal in the 1998 World Cup at just 18-years-old. The 2001 Ballon d’Or winner weaved round the usually-solid Argentina defence before dinking the ball over the goalkeeper and into the top corner, arguably the best of his 40 international goals. Were it not for injuries he would surely be far higher up the list of England top goalscorers.
4. Jimmy Greaves (44 goals)
With over 350 career goals and 44 international goals, Jimmy Greaves was one of the greatest natural goalscorers of all-time. The centre forward is Tottenham’s all-time top scorer and holds the record for the most goals scored in the English first division (now known as the Premier League).
Greaves was a key figure in the successes of England in the 1960’s, despite not featuring in the latter stages of the famous 1966 World Cup.Tthe striker lost his place in the side to Geoff Hurst, whose goals in the final proved crucial, after suffering a knee injury which left him sidelined for the round of 16.
The former AC Milan striker was England’s top goalscorer of all time with 44 goals but as time has passed the clinical finisher has slipped out of the top three. However, his record for the most England hat-tricks (6) still hasn’t been surpassed.
3. Gary Lineker (48 goals)
More recently known for his presenting role on Match of the Day and as the face of Walkers crisps, Gary Lineker was a clinical finisher throughout the entirety of his career. The striker showcased his goalscoring prowess all over the globe, bagging goals in England, Spain and even Japan, but he also scored goals for fun on the international scene too – 48 to be exact. The Leicester City graduate was a regular goalscorer in big competitions, especially the early rounds of World Cups, in which he played in two tournaments.
Lineker’s greatest international success came at the 1986 World Cup where his six goals meant that the forward was the first ever Englishman to win the Golden Boot award. The ex-Barcelona striker may have appeared in second-place on this list of England top goalscorers, scoring just one goal fewer than the man above him but manager Graham Taylor substituted him for Alan Smith against Sweden at Euro ’92, in what proved to be his final international game, therefore denying him the opportunity to equal or better the record of the midfielder above him. At the time that would have made him level as England’s top goalscorer of all-time.
2. Sir Bobby Charlton (49 goals)
Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton was top of this list for 45 years before being demoted by a newer Red Devils hero. Charlton scored 49 goals for England in 106 games, with many of his goals coming from midfield. The now-Manchester United director was pivotal in England winning the 1966 World Cup, scoring twice in the semi-final against Portugal to send Alf Ramsey’s side into the final, before marking Franz Beckenbauer out of the game in the final.
He made 606 appearances for Manchester United and scored 199 goals, an impressive record for any player. However, the stat is made even more astounding considering most of those goals came from midfield. Charlton was calm in possession, could read the game incredibly well and could always pick a pass or shot, and for those reasons he is regarded as one of England’s greatest ever players.
1. Wayne Rooney (53 goals)
England’s all-time top goalscorer and Manchester United leading scorer as well, Wayne Rooney unsurprisingly heads this list of international heroes. The centre forward set the footballing world alight when he burst on to the scene at 17-years-old at Everton, which was quickly followed by a call-up to the England side which made him the youngest ever player to feature for the Three Lions at 17 years and 111 days old. Rooney never looked back.
When Sir Alex Ferguson took him under his wing at the red side of Manchester, he crafted the boyhood Toffees fan into a well-rounded finisher and leader on and off the pitch. The striker scored 53 goals in 120 appearances on the international scene, with most of those goals coming in the qualifying rounds of big competitions.
Rooney, like many of his other talented teammates (Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard to name a few), often struggled on the greatest stages of all and England’s ‘Golden Generation’ are often remembered for their club level performances rather than international ones.
The now-Derby County player was an unbelievable talent in his prime years, even on his quiet days there was the chance that he could craft a chance out of nothing or score a screamer from out of nowhere. Rooney was versatile, great with both feet and had the selfishness a striker needed whilst also always looking for a better option. Top of our list of England top goalscorers, Rooney was one of the greatest ever to wear the three lions.
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