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Top 20 England players of all time - #1

Sports Mole's countdown of the top 20 England players of all time continues with number one - Bobby Charlton.

Bobby Charlton (106 caps, 49 goals)

Bobby Charlton takes a corner for Manchester United on January 01, 1971.© Getty Images

A man who has seen it all in football - from the unimaginable horror of the 1958 Munich air disaster to the glory of helping England to the World Cup in 1966 - Bobby Charlton fought through triumph and tragedy to establish himself as an all-time great of the game.

The attacking midfielder was famed for his ferocious long-range shooting and pinpoint passing throughout his career, going on to make 106 appearances for England, scoring 49 goals.

Charlton's tally of caps was a record which stood for just three years before Bobby Moore overtook him, but his goalscoring mark lasted from his retirement in 1970 until 2015, when Wayne Rooney became the first Englishman to chalk up a half-century of international strikes.

While his name may no longer be in the record books for those two categories, he remains a giant of English football having been selected for four World Cups - first as a Busby Babe in 1958 and last as a legend of the game in 1970.

It was in 1966 where Charlton's crowning glory came, with his two goals in the semi-final against Portugal helping Alf Ramsey's side to win the Jules Rimet trophy - an honour he was able to experience alongside brother Jack Charlton.

There was no shortage of silverware at club level either, with the Manchester United stalwart winning three league titles, the FA Cup and - perhaps most notably - the European Cup during his time at Old Trafford.

That latter triumph saw United become the first English side to be crowned champions of Europe, and poignantly came 10 years after Charlton had survived the Munich air crash which ravaged one of the most promising young teams in football.

Charlton ended his career with 249 goals in 758 appearances for United - both records at the time which have since been surpassed - and his performances for club and country in 1966 earned him the Ballon d'Or, the FWA Footballer of the Year award and the World Cup Golden Ball that year.

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