2010 FIFA World Cup: The Top Nine Players To Don England's No. 9
It was announced today that Peter Crouch has been allocated the England squad’s number nine shirt.
Many people feel this is a clear indication that coach Fabio Capello is planning on starting Crouch up front, alongside Wayne Rooney.
To celebrate, we’re looking back at nine of England’s finest number nines.
But a word of warning for tall Spurs striker. Not all the number nines lived up to their shirt’s billing.
No. 9: Robbie Fowler (2002)
One of the best natural finishers England has ever produced, Robbie Fowler could never reproduce his stunning early club form at international level.
Though he was given the number 9 shirt at the 2002 World Cup, he could not displace his former Liverpool teammates Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.
His only appearance came as a second half substitute for Owen in the second round match against Denmark.
By that stage England had already cruised to a 3-0 half-time lead.
No. 8: Mark Hately (1986)
Son of England striker Tony, Mark Hately was one of the few English players to try their luck abroad.
He played in Italy for AC Milan, the club he was with when he was selected as England’s number nine for the 1986 World Cup.
Hately had scored three goals in qualifying and started England’s opening matches in 1986. But results were poor as they lost to Portugal and drew with Morocco.
In their crucial final group match, Hately was replaced by Peter Beardsley, who helped England to a 3-0 win against Poland.
Hately’s only further contribution was a 10-minute appearance as a substitute in the second round.
No. 7: Glenn Hoddle (1982)
Glenn Hoddle is regarded as one of the most cultured English footballers of all-time.
Yet he struggled to replicate his club form at international level and was rarely trusted by successive English managers.
Handed the number nine shirt at the 1982 World Cup, Hoddle had to sit out England’s opening win against France.
In their next game, he replaced the injured Bryan Robson as England beat Czechoslovakia 2-0.
Hoddle, then started in the uninspiring 1-0 win over Kuwait, but was dropped for the second round group stage.
He did not feature again as England limped out of the World Cup with two 0-0 draws against West Germany and Spain.
No. 6: Wayne Rooney (2006)
Even at the tender age of 20, Wayne Rooney was England’s greatest hope ahead of the 2006 World Cup.
So, their preparations were thrown into turmoil when Rooney injured his foot playing for Manchester United and faced a race to be fit for the tournament.
Rooney appeared as a sub in England’s second game against Trinidad & Tobago. He then started all of England’s remaining matches, but was patently not fully fit.
A frustrated Rooney was sent off in the quarterfinal against Portugal for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. England held on for a 0-0 draw without him but went out on penalties.
No 5. Peter Beardsley (1990)
Liverpool striker Peter Beardsley was one of England’s top strikers heading into the 1990 World Cup.
His lethal partnership with Gary Lineker—forged at the 1986 World Cup—made him a certain starter for England’s opening game against Ireland.
However Beardsley was dropped as England changed tactics for their next match against the Netherlands.
Beardsley didn’t get back into the team until the quarterfinal against Cameroon.
He replaced his Liverpool teammate John Barnes at half-time and helped England win a thrilling match 3-2.
Beardsley started the semi-final against West Germany. After a 1-1 draw, he scored a penalty in the resulting shoot-out, but England went out to the eventual World Champions.
No. 4: Derek Kevan (1958)
Derek Kevan played most of his club football at West Bromwich Albion, for whom he scored 157 goals in 262 appearances.
He was England’s number 9 at the 1958 World Cup and inspired England’s comeback in their opening game against the Soviet Union.
Losing 2-0 Kevan scored in the 66th minutes and Tom Finney penalty got England a draw.
After a scoreless draw with Brazil, England needed to beat Austria in their final game to reach the quarterfinals.
Kevan scored a 74th minutes equalizer to make it 2-2, but England could not find a winner and went out of the competition.
No. 3: Nat Lofthouse (1954)
Nat Lofthouse was one of England’s greatest footballers of the 1950s and was their key player at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.
England opened with an extraordinary match against Belgium. Lofthouse scored twice and thought he had won the game when he put England 4-3 ahead in extra-time.
But English defender Jimmy Dickinson scored an own goal right at the end to level the score at 4-4.
Despite this setback, England reached the quarterfinals where Lofthouse scored again.
However England exited the tournament, losing 4-2 to world champions Uruguay.
No. 2. Alan Shearer (1998)
One of England’s greatest number nines of recent times, Alan Shearer ended up international career with 30 goals for his country.
Two of them came in the 1998 World Cup. He opened the scoring in England’s first game in France – a 2-0 win over Tunisia.
He scored from the spot in the memorable second round clash with Argentina. The game finished 2-2 and went to a penalty shoot-out.
Shearer scored his kick, but unfortunately teammates Paul Ince and David Batty didn’t and England went out of the tournament.
No. 1: Bobby Charlton (1966 & 1970)
The only England number nine to win the World Cup, Charlton was instrumental to England’s 1966 success.
He played in every game on England’s path to the final, scoring twice in the 2-1 semifinal win over Portugal.
He won a record 106th international cap in England’s 1970 World Cup quarterfinal against West Germany. But despite taking a 2-0 lead, the holders conceded two late goals and crashed out of the tournament when Gerd Muller scored the German’s winner in extra time.