10 Worst England Players Ever To Make A World Cup Squad
England have picked some excellent World Cup squads and some pretty underwhelming ones over the years. As a host of players are battling it out to make it into the 2018 World Cup squad, there is hope for every single one of them when you look at the woeful standard of some players that have managed it in the past. Here are the 10 worst players ever to make it into an England World Cup squad.
10. Steve Bull
Few England players have the goal-scoring record of Steve Bull in club football, but it has to be remembered that every single one of his 250 Wolverhampton Wanderers goals came outside of the top flight. He is the last man to be picked for the national team outside of the top two divisions as it was after Wolves’ promotion from Division Three in 1989 that Bull first got selected. Bull scored four goals early in his England career, making it to the World Cup 1990 squad, but never scored again for his country. There have been less memorable England careers, but seen as Bull only ever played twice in the top flight of English football means he deserves a place on this list.
9. Steve Foster
A solid but forgettable centre-back who plied his trade for Portsmouth, Brighton and Luton from the mid-1970s to the end of the ‘80s. Foster snuck into the 1982 World Cup squad with a couple of caps to his name and picked up his third and final cap for his country at the tournament against Kuwait. He wasn’t called upon in either of England’s second round matches where they played out two goalless draws with Germany and Spain in one of the most tedious World Cup campaigns in history.
8. Kieron Dyer
Despite never really fulfilling his potential and constantly suffering with injury, Kieron Dyer picked up 33 caps for England, without scoring once for his country. However, despite numerous downsides to his career, Dyer made it into the 2002 World Cup squad, in midfield alongside the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Joe Cole. His three substitute appearances in Japan and South Korea were of little significance and somehow Dyer was still turning out for England in 2007, still not contributing a great deal.
7. Stan Anderson
Stan Anderson may be something of a Sunderland legend having made over 400 appearances for the club, but he was not one of England’s finest selections ever. Sunderland had been relegated for the first time in their history in 1958 and they were still in the Second Division when Anderson was capped twice by England. He just about made the 1962 World Cup squad in Chile but didn’t get on the field during the tournament and never played for the Three Lions again.
6. Luke Shaw
This may well change in future, but at the time of writing, Luke Shaw is apparently going to be a story of unfulfilled potential for England and Manchester United. The left-back was the youngest player to appear at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in one of England’s worst ever displays at a tournament. His appearance did not see him cement a place in the first team and has only played three times since 2017. He has time to turn his reputation around but he may well be remembered as an irrelevant inclusion in a woeful World Cup campaign, or more likely, just forgotten entirely.
5. Ken Green
Seen as Ken Green never actually picked up a single international cap, it is fair to say that his inclusion in the 1954 World Cup squad was a bit underwhelming. A great captain for Birmingham, but he was clearly never quite at international level, winning two England B caps, but never quite earning the trust of Walter Winterbottom who never fielded the full back.
4. Rickie Lambert
A man who played the vast majority of his career outside of the top flight, but did enough with Southampton in the Premier League for a couple of seasons to make it into the 2014 World Cup squad. The striker didn’t do anything in Brazil and it really turned out to be a turning point in his career for the worse as he scored a total of seven league goals between the tournament ending before his retirement in 2017.
3. Scott Carson
There wasn’t too much fuss about Scott Carson coming into the 2006 World Cup squad as third-choice goalkeeper. He was replacing the injured Robert Green and was unlikely to get on the field – which he didn’t However, Carson was later proved to be lacking the quality at international level when his gaffe against Croatia cost England a place in Euro 2008. Manager Steve McLaren was sacked after Carson’s performance in qualification and the keeper’s selection was a reason. Not an international career to be remembered fondly.
2. Stephen Warnock
At times a solid left-back for the likes of Blackburn and Aston Villa in the Premier League, but never really more than that level of very average performer just below the top level. Warnock was playing in a decent Villa side in 2010 when the World Cup came around and the question of who would be the understudy for Ashley Cole arose. Most thought it should be Leighton Baines, Fabio Capello decided it would be Warnock. Fortunately, England did not have to call upon Warnock in the competition and his international career ended with just two caps in friendly matches.
1. Darius Vassell
2002 was a strange year for the England team, proving to be something of a transitional time which saw some extremely underwhelming names sneak into the squad. We have already noted Kieron Dyer, the likes of Trevor Sinclair and Danny Mills also made that squad, but now we focus on Darius Vassell. The Aston Villa striker made the most of a surprise chance at international football, scoring on his debut and winning the man of the match in a friendly against the Netherlands. This took him to the 2002 World Cup but he did not exactly make an impact on the biggest stage of all. Vassell was handed a start and two substitute appearances but did nothing with them. Two years later he was missing the penalty that put England out of Euro 2004 in his last appearance for his country. In 371 appearances in English football, all of which as a striker, Vassell scored 77 goals. Which is not very good, at all.