28 April 2012

England's ten most gifted footballers of the last 50 years: The also-rans

Currently in the midst of an exciting* top 10 countdown of the most gifted English footballers of the last half century. So, prior to beginning the all-important final five on Monday, I thought I'd throw in a few extra names that didn't make the cut and explain why...

Peter Beardsley - the unluckiest of those that miss out. Clever, inspiring footballer of longevity and style who probably didn't make it because he was sometimes too unselfish for his own good.

Steven Gerrard - he is nowhere near as good as he, or Liverpool supporters, think he is.

Frank Worthington - one of those mercurial 'maverick' types of the 1970s - divine left foot, great passer and finisher - but was more disruptive than the others, hence the crazy number of moves he made in his career, and ultimately was never trusted by one of the 'big' clubs with real designs on success.

Wayne Rooney - shocked by this, are we? He is the best player of his generation but he last truly delivered on the biggest stage when he was 18. His discipline is a major issue too.

Trevor Brooking - a terrific passer but didn't quite ever make it from watchable creator to indispensable matchwinner.

Rodney Marsh - of the 'maverick' figures of the 1970s, he was the one who was entrusted to bring success to an ambitious club, and promptly upset the balance and focus of the team in question. Individuality that cost a team.

John Barnes - on his day untouchable but was prone to long periods of inconsistency, especially at international level, and his ability was sometimes overstated by phenomenal pace.

Kevin Keegan - never a natural footballer. His brilliance came from persistence, intelligence and leadership quality, and seldom from being able to do the unimaginable with a ball.

Joe Cole - let down by the system of his era that dictated that Gerrard and Frank Lampard must dominate the midfield, when here was a player more talented than both of them put together being stuck out on the wing. Would have made the top 10 if he'd been treated better by his managers.

Bobby Moore - yes, he was magnificent. But he was a defender, and defenders are defenders because they're better at destroying than creating, and not good enough to play further forward.

So, find out which five players are better than the above from tomorrow...

*ie, unexciting


Lee Slator said...

I completely agree with the sentiments about Steven Gerrard. Overrated by the masses. I don't seem to remember many big performances in an England shirt neither.

jonny said...

Steven Gerrard would unquestionably feature if he had one key attribute: intelligence. It's his pass selection and decision making that remains his downfall. A couple of truly remarkable Roy of The Rovers highlights have dictated the rest of his career as he persistently, and frustratingly, attempts the impossible - week in week out. This results in about 30% of his passes ending up in the press gantry.