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England players with the most World Cup appearances

England have quite a steeped history at the FIFA World Cup. Well, in terms of their 15 participations thus far, anyway.

But still, their grand haul of *checks notes* one tournament triumph is more than most countries, and the players who have turned out for the Three Lions on the global stage are among some of the finest to have played the game.

Here are the ten players to have played the most games for England at the World Cup.

Soccer - Chris Waddle

Eyes on the prize / Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 11
World Cup participations: 1986, 1990
Total England caps: 62

Former Newcastle and Tottenham icon Chris Waddle is the only England player to have played exactly 11 times at World Cups, though we’re sure plenty from the Three Lions’ current cohort will match or exceed that tally.

English Soccer Player Gary LinekerEnglish Soccer Player Gary Lineker

Lineker spearheaded some great England teams / Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 12
World Cup participations: 1986, 1990
Total England caps: 80

Crisp extraordinaire and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was actually a pretty good footballer back in the day. He even played 12 matches at World Cups, though he did accidentally defecate himself in one of those games, so who’s to say whether that one actually counts?

Michael Owen - Soccer PlayerMichael Owen - Soccer Player

Owen played at three World Cups / Simon M Bruty/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 12
World Cup participations: 1998, 2002, 2006
Total England caps: 89

In another universe, Michael Owen would have ended his England career as the country’s record scorer and appearance maker. Unfortunately, injury curtailed his playing days, but he still made a decent impact with the Three Lions.

Steven GerrardSteven Gerrard

Gerrard captained England at two World Cups / Clive Rose/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 12
World Cup participations: 2006, 2010, 2014
Total England caps: 114

Stevie G is one of few players to have featured in both Sven-Goran Eriksson’s ‘golden generation’ teams and both Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson’s band of misfits. Good for him.

David BeckhamDavid Beckham

Beckham was an England regular / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 13
World Cup participations: 1998, 2002, 2006
Total England caps: 115

The only player to have made precisely 13 appearances for England at World Cups, David Beckham is the only player on this list to have been sent off at the tournament. Still, at least he bounced back from that.

Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ray Wilson, George Cohen, Bobby CharltonBobby Moore, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ray Wilson, George Cohen, Bobby Charlton

Immortal / Evening Standard/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 14
World Cup participations: 1962, 1966, 1970
Total England caps: 108

The ONLY English player to lift the World Cup as captain.

Ashley ColeAshley Cole

Cole made the left-back spot his own / Michael Regan/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 14
World Cup participations: 2002, 2006, 2010
Total England caps: 107

England weren’t exactly blessed with swathes of left-backs in the 2000s, but they did have one of the only world class players in that position in the world in Ashley Cole at least.

Terry ButcherTerry Butcher

Butcher was a rock / Mike King/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 14
World Cup participations: 1982, 1986, 1990
Total England caps: 77

A rather surprising entry considering Terry Butcher made the second-fewest appearances for England on this list, but the man was a staple of England’s 1980s and early 1990s sides.

Bobby CharltonBobby Charlton

Charlton in his prime / Norman Quicke/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 14
World Cup participations: 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970
Total England caps: 106

Four World Cup participations, Sir Bobby Charlton? Four? That’s insane.

The Manchester United legend didn’t actually play in 1958, but his selection in Walter Winterbottom’s squad came mere months after the Munich air disaster. That’s just how good he was.

Peter ShiltonPeter Shilton

Shilton was a stalwart / Getty Images/GettyImages

World Cup matches: 17
World Cup participations: 1982, 1986, 1990
Total England caps: 125

The most capped player in England’s history. The player with the most Three Lions appearances at the World Cup. Sure, Peter Shilton now spends his days getting into arguments on Twitter, but he’s undeniably one of the greatest footballers the country has produced.


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