Who are the greatest football players from the UK? In this article, we take a look at 7 of the UK’s most famous footballers. Some of the UK’s most popular soccer players include national champions like Steven Gerrard and Sir Bobby Charlton. Some contemporary stars are also creating a significant impact in the UK’s football industry. To discover the most famous footballers in the UK, we have closely examined the records and compiled a list of footballers who have showcased excellence in their careers. In our selection criteria, we assessed players according to their overall contribution over time. We considered how many trophies each player won for their clubs and their achievements during their careers.
With their unique skills and tactics, the UK’s greatest footballers have left a memorable mark on the sport. Whether they played as defenders, forwards, midfielders, or goalkeepers, they managed to make football one of the most popular sports in the world. Contrary to what many people believe, football players invest a lot of hard work and effort to reach great heights in their careers. A footballer’s talent would not matter a lot if they weren’t patriotic enough to carry their nation’s flag and contribute what is required for their national team’s success. Great footballers have increased the popularity of football as a sport. Their passion for the game has enabled them to take their careers to great levels.
The UK’s most famous players have managed to establish their greatness because of their full-time commitment to football. You can also follow in their footsteps by going for soccer trials in Europe. In this article, we have shared more details about the lives and achievements of seven of the UK’s most famous footballers.
- Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer was a famous English striker and football pundit who is currently retired. Here is considered by many people as one of the best footballers in the Premier League’s history. He is also commonly mentioned as the greatest striker of his time. He holds the record for scoring the highest number of goals in the Premier League. In 1994, he won the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award and in 1995, he was also awarded the prize for being the PFA Player of the Year. He was also mentioned by Pelé in this list of FIFA’s greatest and alive players in 2004. In 2021, Alan Shearer was among the first duo to be added to the Premier League’s Hall of Fame.
Throughout his career, Alan Shearer was playing at the highest levels of football in the UK. He won two Golden Boots in the Premier League for two consecutive years. While playing for Backburn in 1994-95, he helped them to win the Premier League title. He was signed by New Castle for £15 million in 1996.
- Jimmy Greaves
James Peter Greaves was a famous English forward who is widely recognized as the fourth greatest goalscorer internationally. He scored 44 goals for England and 266 goals for Tottenham Hotspur, making him Tottenham’s most celebrated goalscorer. James Greaves also holds the record for scoring the highest number of hat-tricks for England. He scored the highest number of goals in English high-level soccer. After scoring 124 goals in the First Division, he was signed by A.C. Milan for £80,000 in 1961. He was later signed by Tottenham Hotspur in the same year for £99,999. He helped Spurs finish second in the 1962-63 Premier League.
From 1959 to 1967, James Greaves scored 44 goals for England in 57 international football games. In twelve under-23 games for England, James scored 13 goals in 12 matches. In 1968, he formed part of the team that came third in the UEFA Euro games.
- Sir Stanley Matthews
Sir Stanley Matthew played in the outside right position during his career as an English footballer. Considered by many to be Britain’s best footballers, he became a knight in the course of his football career. He was also the first player to win the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and European Footballer of the Year awards at the same time.
Unlike most famous footballers, Sir Stanley Matthews managed to play football professionally even when he reached 50 years of age. In 2002, he was added to the English Football Hall of Fame to appreciate his excellence in the sport of football. In 1953, he played a crucial role in helping Blackpool to win the FA cup final. He also won the famous Ballon d’Or award in 1956, proving that he was the best football player in Europe at the time. He won 9 home championship cups and 54 titles for England from 1934 to 1957.
- Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks played as a professional goalkeeper for England. During his 20-year career, he appeared 679 times on the pitch. He won 73 titles for England including the 1966 World Cup. In 1959, he was signed by Leicester City for £7,000 and helped them win the League title in 1964. In 1967, he was bought by Stoke City at a fee of £50,000. He is also famous for saving a goal from Pelé in the 1970 World Cup.
In 1972, as a goalkeeper, Gordon Banks helped Stoke City win the League title and this was the club’s only main achievement at the time. In spite of the fact that he could only see with one eye after being involved in a car crash, he was still named Goalkeeper of the Year by NASL in 1977 for this outstanding goalkeeping skills and tactics. He went on to become a manager for Telford United before retiring in 1980.
- Steven Gerrard
As of July 2021, Steven Gerrald is the manager of Rangers, a Scottish Premiership club. He was a professional football player and midfielder for the England national team and Liverpool. He was the captain of both teams. He began playing for Liverpool in 1998 and was made captain in 2003 after helping the club win several titles. During a match popularly referred to as the Miracle of Instanbul, Steven Gerrald was recognized as the Man of the Match in 2005 after helping Liverpool win its fifth title by overcoming an early 3-0 lead and beating Milan.
During the seventeen seasons he spent at Anfield, Steven Gerrald won the UEFA Champions League, two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup, three League titles, one FA Community Shield, and the UEFA Super Cup. He won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award in 2005. In the same year, he was also awarded the Ballon d’Or Bronze Award. He is respected for his leadership skills on the pitch and is also regarded as one of the most famous footballers of his generation.
- Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton was part of the England squad that won the FIFA World Cup in 1966. This is the same year in which he was awarded the Ballon d’Or prize. Sir Bobby Charlton spend most of this professional career at Machester United. It is at this club that he became famous for his outstanding long-distance shot, passing capabilities, and attacking skills.
He helped Manchester United win the First Division cup in 1967, right after winning the same title in 1965. As a captain, he also led the United team that won the European Cup in 1968, thereby making them the first club in England to win the title. By 1970, he had made 106 professional appearances on the English team, and this was the highest score at the time. As of July 2021, Sir Bobby Charlton holds the record for scoring Manchester United’s second-highest number of goals.
- Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore was the captain of West Ham United for over ten years. During the FIFA World Cup in 1966, he was also the captain of the English squad that won the title. He is considered one of the best defenders in the sport of football. Even Pelé named him as the best defender that has ever existed in the history of football. During this 16-year career, Bobby Moore more made over 600 appearances for West Ham. He helped the team win the 1963-64 FA Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ title during the 1964-65 season. In 1964, he was awarded the FWA Footballer of the Year prize and was also named the Player of the Year by West Ham in 1970, 1968, 1963, and 1961.
In 1964, at the early age of 23, Bobby Moore was made captain of England’s national team. In 1966, he helped the squad win the World Cup title. By 1973, he helped the record for winning the highest number of caps for his national team (106). More was praised for his outstanding capability to accurately read the game and predict the opponent’s moves. To appreciate his contribution to the sport, in 2002, he was added to the English Football Hall of Fame.