Who is the greatest England central midfielder of all time?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 June 2018

Paul Ince beats Switzerland's Christophe Bonvin to the ball in England's opening Euro 1996 match at Wembley. Photo: Neil Munns / PA

Paul Ince beats Switzerland's Christophe Bonvin to the ball in England's opening Euro 1996 match at Wembley. Photo: Neil Munns / PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Which one of these seven players is England’s greatest central midfielder of all time?

Alan Ball (1965-1975)

The youngest member of England’s 1966 World Cup winning team, Ball was pivotal in the final setting up Geoff Hurst for his controversial second goal. Ball was England captain for six games, before being dropped completely by manager Don Revie following an injury, and finished his international career with 72 caps and eight goals.

Nobby Stiles (1965-1970)

Stiles played for England for five years, winning 28 caps and scoring one goal. He played every minute of England’s victorious 1966 World Cup campaign. His best performance was the semi-final of that tournament against Portugal, where he was given the job of marking the prolific Eusébio. His tough performance resulted in Eusébio being practically nullified for the entire game.

Glenn Hoddle (1979-1988)

Hoddle made his debut in England’s Euro 80 qualifying tie against Bulgaria on 22 November 1979, scoring in a 2–0 win at Wembley. He was included in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup squads, playing an important role in the latter campaign when England reached the quarter-finals against Argentina. Hoddle also featured prominently in the European Championship squads of 1980 and 1988, making his 53rd and final international appearance in the final group game of Euro 88, in a 3–1 defeat to the Soviet Union in West Germany. He had scored eight goals for the England senior side in a career stretching nine years.

Bryan Robson (1980-1991)

Robson represented England on 90 occasions between 1980 and 1991, making him, at the time, the fifth most capped England player. His goalscoring tally of 26 placed him eighth on the list at the time. Robson captained his country 65 times, with only Bobby Moore and Billy Wright having captained England on more occasions.

Paul Ince (1992-2000)

The first black player to captain the England team, Ince was capped 53 times, scoring two goals. A tenacious, athletic, and hard-working player, Ince was known for his tireless running and ability to provide defensive support to his team in midfield.

Frank Lampard (1999-2014)

Lampard was capped 106 times by England and played at three World Cups – in 2006, 2010 and 2014. He was voted England Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. He played in Euro 2004 and was named in the team of the tournament after scoring three goals in four games. In all, he scored 29 international goals. He was top scorer for England in their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals, and is England’s most prolific penalty taker with nine goals.

Steven Gerrard (2000-2014)

Gerrard is the fourth-most capped player in the history of the England team with 114 caps, scoring 21 goals. Gerrard represented his country at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 European Championships, as well as the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments, captaining the team for the latter two competitions. Gerrard won his 100th cap in 2012, becoming the sixth player to reach that milestone for England.

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