England’s top 10 most prolific goal-scorers
After bursting onto the scene as a boy wonder back in 2002, Wayne Rooney looks almost certain to earn his 100th
England cap against Slovenia this Saturday. A significant feat, but one that’s almost overshadowed by the prospect of another. At 29 and the default first name on Roy Hodgson’s team-sheet, it seems almost a question of when not if he will overtake Bobby Charlton as England’s all-time top goal-scorer. Strikes in both of his last two outings has seen the United man’s tally creep to 43, within touching distance of Charlton’s 49. If he gets there, it will be a remarkable achievement, but whether he can do it within the same amount of appearances (106, Rooney is currently on 99) remains to be seen. This got us thinking – what would England’s top goal-scorer list look like if it was ordered according to goals per minute? We crunched the numbers, eliminating all those who scored under ten (sorry one cap, one goal wonders Francis Jeffers and Dave Nugent), to find the most prolific players in and England shirt. It turns out the five with the highest total hauls – Charlton (49, averaging one every 193 minutes), Gary Lineker (48, avg. 136 mins), Jimmy Greaves (44, avg. 117mins), Rooney (43, avg. 172 mins) and Michael Owen (40, avg. 155 mins – wouldn’t even make the top ten. Without further ado, the Three Lions’ top ten most prolific players:
Tommy Taylor – England duty: 1953-1957 – Apps: 19 – Goals: 16 – Mins per goal: 104
Taylor was regarded by many as one of the finest players to grace Old Trafford, racking up a mesmerising 112 goals in 166 games as part of the famous ‘Busby Babes’, and touted as a future England legend. His career was cut tragically short at 26 when he died in the 1958 Munich Air disaster. His incredible record in an England shirt is further reason to rue what might have been.
Stan Mortensen – England duty: 1957-1953 – Apps: 25 – Goals: 23 – Mins per goal: 98
Mortensen is the only player to have ever scored a hat-trick in an FA Cup final, part of a Blackpool side that famously came from 3-1 down to beat Bolton 4-3. He was devastating for England to, scoring four goals on his debut in a 10-0 rout of Portugal.
Nat Lofthouse – England duty: 1950-1958 – Apps: 33 – Goals: 30 – Mins per goal: 95
Though Lofthouse was part of the defeated Bolton side mentioned above, he narrowly pips Mortensen on England duty. The one-club Bolton man is the highest international goal-scorer on this list (he is joint sixth overall), with England losing just once in a game in which he scored.
Tinsley Lindley – England duty: 1886-1891 – Apps: 13 – Goals: 13 – Mins per goal: 90
Lindley was described by journalists at the time as “an ideal centre forward” and notably played without wearing football boots. An accomplished all-rounder, he played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and was awarded an OBE for his efforts during World War One.
Billy Dean – England duty: 1927-1932 – Apps: 16 – Goals: 18 – Mins per goal: 80
Better known as ‘Dixie’ Dean, a nickname he was said to be less than fond of, the striker was one of the first 22 players inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He is regarded as Everton’s best ever player, scoring a record 60 league goals in one season during 1927-1928, but England’s reluctance to enter into international competition during his tenure hampered his chance to make an impression on the world stage.
Fred Dewhurst – England duty: 1888-1890 – Apps: 9 – Goals: 12 – Mins per goal: 74
The earliest-born player on our list (1863), Dewhurst scored the first ‘intentional’ goal in the inaugural season of the Football League (an own goal had been scored minutes before) and was part of the Preston side that won the 1889 FA Cup without conceding a single goal. He racked up a decent tally for England, before retiring from the sport in 1890.
Steve Bloomer – England duty: 1895-1907 – Apps: 23 – Goals: 28 – Mins per goal: 74
Derby County’s golden boy, the club’s anthem ‘Steve Bloomer’s Watchin’ plays before every home game and a bust of Bloomer overlooks the dugout at Pride Park. Arguably English football’s first superstar, he holds the record for scoring in consecutive England appearances (10).
Vivian Woodward – England duty: 1903-1911 – Apps: 23 – Goals: 29 – Mins per goal: 71
Woodward broke Bloomer’s then-record to become all-time top scorer in 1911, an achievement that stood until 1958. He also picked up a couple of Olympic gold medals as captain of Great Britain in 1908 and 1912.
George Hilsdon – England duty: 1907-1909 – Apps: 8 – Goals: 14 – Mins per goal: 51
Nicknamed ‘Gatling Gun’ for the unstoppable nature of his shots, Hilsdon racked up 100 goals for Chelsea during his time at the Blues. A weather vane modelled on the player is still a part of Stamford Bridge and is said to cause great misfortune if removed – as was the case during renovation in the 1970s.
George Camsell – England duty: 1929-1936 – Apps: 9 – Goals: 18 – Mins per goal: 45
Camsell is bested by both Dixie Dean (having scored 59 in a season) and Steve Bloomer (Camsell scored in nine consecutive England appearances), but he pips both on our list. A more than worthy topper, he scored in every single international he played, including two hat-tricks, averaging an incredible two goals-per-game. Follow @SportingIndex
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