clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Leeds United’s England XI: The best to play for the Whites and the Three Lions

In the midst of the international break, I took a look at the best XI who have worn the white shirt for both club and country. 

David Batty

Eleven men that played for both Leeds United and England in international play.

The idea in theory seemed an easy task, however choosing the XI was difficult and I am certain people will disagree with my squad. The difficulty stems from the fact that for so long, Leeds roamed the lower leagues of English football. I had to go some way back to find those players who were good enough to represent both club and country.

Some of the players I chose played in the golden age of the Don Revie era for Leeds. Others played during my youth and were my footballing heroes as a child between 1994-2002. I went for a 4-3-3 formation with one sitting defensive midfielder, two slightly more advanced wingers and 3 centre forwards.

Read my selections, then let us know who you’d choose in the comments below.

Nigel Martyn

Nigel Martyn is the greatest goal keeper in the history of Leeds United and usually appears in the people’s Greatest XI. Whilst he was becoming a hero in Yorkshire he was also a full-fledged member of the England squad. He did, however, play second fiddle to David Seaman. Martyn only played 23 times for England in his career but in my opinion and in a lot of England and Leeds fans minds, he should have been a more regular feature between the sticks for England.

Nigel deservedly takes the number 1 jersey.

The Defence

Terry Cooper

Terry Cooper is the first of the back four made up with 3 of the legends from the Revie era. Cooper had over 270 appearances for Leeds and played the role of a left back you would see more often in 2017 and not in 1970: his ability to overlap the winger and cross the ball in was a revolution in terms of a defender’s role. He made his debut for England in 1969 and featured 20 times for his country, playing an integral part in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Cooper would have featured more for his country but a serious leg break meant Cooper was out of action for just under two years.

Jack Charlton

A legend for both club and country, the hard-hitting defender played over 640 appearances for Leeds and 35 for England in a career spanning 20 years. Charlton’s England career did start a little later than the usual, as he was the grand age of 29 in his debut against Scotland. However, a year later he would win the World Cup with England at Wembley Stadium.

Norman Hunter

Norman ‘Bites Yer Legs’ Hunter played alongside Charlton, forming a formidable partnership through the mid 60’s and the mid 70’s. The Leeds legend is still very involved with the club. Hunter featured 20 times for the national side and was a member of the squad who won the World Cup in 1966.

Danny Mills

Danny Mills is a player I remember fondly from my youth as one of the players who featured heavily in our superb Champions League run. Mills represented his country on 19 occasions and often found himself playing 2nd fiddle to Gary Neville. However, he is remembered for playing regular part in the 2002 World Cup in Korea after Neville had picked up an injury and missed the tournament. People may have a different option at right back but, because of what I witnessed, Danny Mills makes the XI.

The Midfield

James Milner

Leeds-born James Milner is the only member of the XI not to play for England till after he had departed the club. The versatile footballer, and one of my favourites, burst on to the scene when he scored and became the youngest ever scorer in Premier League history at 16.

Milner would go to play for Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and now plies his trade in Merseyside with Liverpool. It was at Aston Villa when Milner started to really shine at club level and after learning the international game in the Under 21 was given his 1st England cap against Holland in August 2009. He would feature 61 times for England before retiring from International duty in August last year.

David Batty

Another Leeds lad, Batty was a member of the Leeds squad who won promotion from the 2nd division in 89/90 and won the 1st division title in the 91/92 season. I personally remember Batty when he returned for his 2nd spell at the club. I remember adding the experience to the youth of the team when we qualified for the Champions League.

Batty featured 42 times for his country and played regularly through the mid-late 90’s and was a member of the England team at the 1998 World Cup (great England side BTW). David Batty was the first player I listed when I came up with the list.

Lee Bowyer

Lee Bowyer only made 1 appearance for England, but if it had not been for situations off the field, I believe we would have seen more of Lee Bowyer - a wonderful goal scoring midfielder, who could tackle and find a pass with ease. Bowyer made his only England appearance in a game I remember well - against Portugal he set up the goal for another Leeds player who also features in my list, Alan Smith. Bowyer defined that era for me and was a Leeds great... and should have been an England great.

The Forwards

Alan Smith

Regardless, of opinion on choices he made after we were relegated, Alan Smith was Leeds through and through. He was to me what Pontus Jansson is to this generation. Alan Smith played in a fantastic Leeds side - a side I took for granted at the time but now appreciate more than ever. He featured 172 times for Leeds and scored 38 goals.

We all remember him scoring on his debut for Leeds against Liverpool but he also scored in his full debut for England against Portugal. He would make 19 international appearances for England. As I said, whatever happened, he still deserves his place in the XI.

Allan Clarke

Allan "Sniffer" Clarke made 351 appearances and 151 goals in his career with Leeds. To be fair, his record for England isn’t that bad either: even though he only played 19 times for his country, he scored 10 goals - not a bad return in my opinion.

Mick Jones

Jones is the 2nd man from the wonder days of the Revie era. Jones scored 111 goals at his time at Leeds and alongside Clarke was a constant featured of the Revie sides that dominated English football. Jones only featured once for the national side during his time at Leeds, but aside from Clarke, I say he’s the greatest English striker to wear the Leeds shirt.

That’s my XI - a mixture of own experiences and those gone before me give me the 11 men listed above. Please leave your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your Leeds-England XI. MOT.