Despite winning just a single World Cup, there has been no shortage of world-class English strikers through the ages.
Some of the game’s greatest managers point to a strong defence when it comes to building a winning team, maintaining stability and forming solid foundations on which glory can be achieved. Who can argue with them?
But for those of us who love watching and talking about football few players create more debate and generate column inches better than strikers.
Centre-forwards will always be seen as their side’s talisman. It is their job to put the ball in the back of the net and the rewards for that is more glory and adulation than any other individual on the pitch. The flip side, though, is they come under greater scrutiny and in for harsher criticism than all others.
The striker can become a hero in an instant or a villain in a heartbeat and, more often than not, is the player we all dream of being when we are having a kick about in the park or on a Sunday.
Whether it’s the foraging No.9, whose job is to pounce on any opportunity that comes his way, or the more creative No.10, who is seen as the conductor, we all have our favourites both now and in the past.
In recent years the role of the striker has changed. Whereas once upon a time almost every team set up with two, nowadays most sides employ a lone striker, putting even greater responsibility on his shoulders to score the goals which can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
In this series Football Whispers will be looking at five of the best English strikers ever to play the game. Some are from years gone by when the game was very different, others played more recently, benefitting from greater protection but finding themselves under more intense scrutiny.
Goals are the only currency we’re talking about here, not potential, silverware or individual achievements; it’s all about their ability to put the ball in the net any which way they can, time and time again.
You may not agree with the players on our list and you may feel your favourite striker is not represented. But what you can’t deny is that these five English strikers are all natural born goal scorers who have gone down in folklore for their undeniable ability to find the back of the net at a frightening rate, for club, for country, or both.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we bring you the Football Whispers’ top five English strikers of all time…