England will play their 1000th men’s international game later today when they face Montenegro in a European Championship qualifier. Ahead of the game, we’ve been looking through the record books at the players who’ve played most often during the previous 999 games. Here are the 50 players who’ve worn the Three Lions more often than any of the hundreds of players who’ve been lucky, and good, enough to play for England.
Joint 50th. Raheem Sterling & Jordan Henderson - 55 caps
Starting off the countdown, we’ve grouped these two together. Raheem Sterling & Jordan Henderson both have 55 caps, but they’ll both move up this list over the upcoming years.
Joint 49th. Joe Cole - 56 caps
Former West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool star Joe Cole earned 56 caps for his country. He made his debut in 2001 and his last game was the defeat to Germany at the 2010 World Cup.
Joint 49th. Johnny Haynes - 56 caps
Former captain Johnny Haynes played 56 times for England between 1954 and 1962. Had it not been for a car accident in 1962, it likely would have been Haynes and not Bobby Moore captaining England at the 1966 World Cup.
Joint 47th. Jimmy Greaves - 57 caps
Jimmy Greaves’ goalscoring record for England was phenomenal. He scored 44 times in 57 games. He played three games at the 1966 World Cup before he was injured. He was deemed fit for the final but manager Alf Ramsey opted against changing a winning team and kept Geoff Hurst in the side ahead of Greaves.
Joint 47th. Paul Gascoigne - 57 caps
One of England’s most talented players of all time, Gazza scored 10 goals for England. He was expected to earn more caps but Glenn Hoddle chose not to take him to the World Cup in 1998, ending Gascoigne’s international career.
Joint 47th. Gareth Southgate - 57 caps
What’s this guy up to these days!? Current England manager Gareth Southgate played 57 times for his country. Until fairly recently, he was remembered mainly for his penalty miss at Euro ’96 but he’s now seen in a more positive light after leading England to the World Cup semi-final.
Joint 47th. Jermain Defoe - 57 caps
Jermain Defoe scored 20 England goals in 57 games between 2004 and 2017. He’s not officially retired from England duty but it’s hard to imagine the 37-year-old getting called up again!
Joint 43rd. Phil Neville - 59 caps
Current England women’s manager Phil Neville was capped 59 times between 1996 and 2007.
Joint 43rd. Des Walker - 59 caps
59 different opponents all tried their best to beat Des Walker!
Joint 43rd. Peter Beardsley - 59 caps
Peter Beardsley scored nine goals whilst wearing the Three Lions. His international career ended when he wasn’t selected for Euro ’96.
Joint 40th. James Milner - 61 caps
James Milner retired from England international duty after the 2016 European Championships. He’d probably deserve a place in the current squad if he was still available for selection!
Joint 40th. Gary Cahill - 61 caps
Gary Cahill is another player who is still playing Premier League football despite calling time on his international career. His last cap came in the third-place playoff game against Belgium at the 2018 World Cup.
Joint 40th. Ray Clemence - 61 caps
Goalkeeper Ray Clemence played 61 times for England between 1972 and 1983. He went on to have a long spell as the national team’s goalkeeper coach.
Joint 37th. Emlyn Hughes - 62 caps
Former England captain Emlyn Hughes played 62 times between 1969 and 1980.
Joint 37th. Chris Waddle - 62 caps
Chris Waddle is another player who is unfortunately remembered more for a penalty shootout miss than some of the excellent things he did in an England shirt.
Joint 37th. David Platt - 62 caps
Between 1989 and 1996, David Platt scored a credible 27 goals for England from midfield.
Joint 37th. Emile Heskey - 62 caps
Emile Heskey was often mocked by some England supporters but managers often picked, and relied, upon the striker.
Joint 33rd. Ray Wilson - 63 caps
Ray Wilson was England’s World Cup-winning left-back in 1966. He’d likely have earned more than 63 caps if not for a serious knee injury which suffered in the summer of 1968.
Joint 33rd. Kevin Keegan - 63 caps
One of the few men to play for and manage the England national side, Keegan scored 21 goals for his country.
Joint 33rd. Alan Shearer - 63 caps
Alan Shearer averaged just under a goal every two games for England as he scored 30 times in 63 games. His international career ended after Euro 2000.
30th. Dave Watson - 65 caps
Dave Watson is the most-capped England player never to play in a World Cup after Ron Greenwood chose not to take him to the 1982 World Cup.
Joint 29th. Tony Adams - 66 caps
Making his debut at the age of 21, Tony Adams was the first player to represent England who had been born after the 1966 World Cup win.
Joint 29th. Paul Scholes - 66 caps
In hindsight, the fact that Paul Scholes only played 66 times for England is a huge shame. He retired after Euro 2004, aged 30.
27th. Martin Peters - 67 caps
Martin Peters made his debut for England in May 1966. Two months later, he was scoring in a World Cup final!
26th. Alan Ball - 72 caps
Another of England’s World Cup winners, Alan Ball played 72 times for England between 1965 and 1975.
Joint 25th. Gordon Banks - 73 caps
Another World Cup winner in 1966, many observers believe that Gordon Banks is the greatest goalkeeper ever.
Joint 25th. Sol Campbell - 73 caps
After making his debut as a 21-year-old, Sol Campbell went on to play at three World Cups for England.
Joint 23rd. Joe Hart - 75 caps
At one point, it looked like Joe Hart was a certainty to reach 100 England caps as he’d been the number one goalkeeper at three major tournaments. Still, the end of his England career may have come sooner than expected, but for a while, he solved a position which had been a problem area for England for a number of years.
Joint 23rd. David Seaman - 75 caps
Another goalkeeper with 75 caps is David Seaman. ‘Safe hands’ had an international career which spanned 14 years.
21st. Tom Finney - 76 caps
If you ask people who were around in the 1940s and 1950s, plenty of them will claim that Tom Finney is England’s best-ever player. He scored 30 goals in 76 games for his country.
20th. Terry Butcher - 77 caps
Terry Butcher’s wonderful England career ended after the 1990 World Cup. He was a brilliant defender and captain for the national side.
Joint 19th. John Terry - 78 caps
Another former captain of England, John Terry is widely accepted as one of the best defenders of the modern era.
Joint 19th. Stuart Pearce - 78 caps
Stuart Pearce’s England career lasted over 12 years. Very few, if any, players showed the passion that Pearce did when wearing the Three Lions.
17th. John Barnes - 79 caps
One of England’s most talented wide players ever, John Barnes was handy when it came to making World Cup songs too!
16th. Gary Lineker - 80 caps
Gary Lineker’s record of 48 goals in 80 games just proves how good he was when playing for England.
15th. Rio Ferdinand - 81 caps
Rio Ferdinand made his England debut at the age of 19 years and 8 days and went on to play 80 more games for his country.
14th. Ray Wilkins - 84 caps
Ray Wilkins captained England ten times and played in two World Cups during his ten-year international career.
13th. Gary Neville - 85 caps
Young fans may now know Gary Neville as a TV pundit but he was a regular right-back in an England shirt in a career which lasted 12 years.
12th. Kenny Sansom - 86 caps
Another full-back, albeit a left-back, Kenny Sansom played 86 times for England between 1979 and 1988.
11th. Michael Owen - 89 caps
Michael Owen scored 40 goals in 89 games for England. Whilst he no doubt had an excellent career, he could have played many more times for his country if not for the various injury issues that he encountered.
10th. Bryan Robson - 90 caps
Bryan Robson, aka Captain Marvel, captained his country 65 times in a glorious career.
9th. Billy Wright - 105 caps
The first centurian on our countdown, Billy Wright is the first man to ever play 100 games for England.
Joint 8th. Frank Lampard - 106 caps
Frank Lampard scored 29 times in 106 games for England. That total should be 30 goals but we all know what happened against Germany in 2010!
Joint 8th. Bobby Charlton - 106 caps
Bobby Charlton scored 49 times in 106 games for England and was part of the 1966 World Cup-winning team. Many fans think he is England’s best-ever player.
6th. Ashley Cole - 107 caps
Ashley Cole was, for a long time, considered by many as the best left-back in the world. He played in three World Cups.
5th. Bobby Moore - 108 caps
One of the most iconic figures in English sporting history, England’s World Cup-winning captain is rightly lauded as a true sporting icon.
4th. Steven Gerrard - 114 caps
Steven Gerrard’s England career spanned over 14 years. He scored 21 times for his country.
3rd. David Beckham - 115 caps
One of the most recognisable faces on the planet, David Beckham was at times England’s most hated player and at other times, their most popular player. His free-kick against Greece still stands out as one of the most memorable England goals of all time.
2nd. Wayne Rooney - 120 caps
Nobody has ever scored more goals for England than Wayne Rooney, who found the back of the net 53 times in an England shirt. He became the youngest player to play for England when he earned his first cap in a friendly defeat against Australia in 2003, aged 17 years and 111 days, and he never really looked back.
1st. Peter Shilton - 125 caps
No player in history has played for the England men’s national team more times than Peter Shilton. He made his debut as a 21-year-old in 1970 and played his last game in 1990, aged 40.