Thursday, March 01, 2012
Where are the maverick English footballers of the 1970s?
Forty years ago every club in the old First Division had a player who ought to be in the England team - at least in the opinion of its fans.
And often they were mavericks, both in their lifestyle and style of play. I am thinking of people like Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles, Frank Worthington, Charlie George, Duncan McKenzie and Alan Hudson. They were all immensely talented players who did not enjoy much of an international career.
I sense that this breed was already dying out by the 1980s. You can say that Glen Hoddle should have had the England team built around him, but in the end he got far more caps than any of those players from the 1970s.
And after that there were Nigel Clough and Matt Le Tissier, but precious few other examples. The last player I can remember thinking of in this category is Joe Cole, but he ended up as a regular choice for England.
Nostalgia is always a tempting trap, and I certainly don't follow the game as closely as I did when I was a boy, but I think I am on to something. Where are the players who ought to play for England and don't today?