Current Value

$ %
Click here for full rankings...

All time Rating

$ %
Click here for full rankings...

The Greatest Ever British & Irish XI

Published on May 30, 2015

By kalkilby, Contributor for Soccerjury

3
1500

Ever wondered who would be selected in a combined British and Irish XI? 

A British and Irish team already exists in rugby. But what if this is concept was expanded to football across the course of history? 

An attempt has been made with the condition that each nation is represented at least once. A classic British 4-4-2 formation with wingers is assumed.

In the end, this greatest ever team comprises of: 5 players from England; 2 each from Wales and the Republic of Ireland; and a single player from both Scotland and Northern Ireland. This team merges English composure with Celtic flair.

Greatest British and Irish XI

 

GK: Pat Jennings (Northern Ireland) Country: 83.42%

All-time rank: 82

Player Image

Northern Ireland's most capped player (119 appearances). A world-class goalkeeper whose career spanned 23 years. Played in World Cup '86 on his 41st birthday. Represented both Tottenham and Arsenal.

The Northern Irishman's status would have been further enhanced had he played in stronger national and club sides. Selected in a position of real depth. Despite being less heralded than his rivals, he takes the Number 1 jersey on merit, and not simply to meet the national quota.

Honourable mentions: Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton, Neville Southall


DL: Stuart Pearce (England) Country: 81.48%

All-time rank: 157

Player Image

Iconic England and Nottingham Forest left-back. Earned 78 caps scoring 5 goals for his country. A courageous player who amended his missed penalty against Germany in WC '90, to score against the same opposition in the Euro '96 semi-final.

'Pscyho' is selected ahead of his rivals for his net-bursting free-kicks and sheer bravery.

Honourable mentions: Ashley Cole, Kenny Samsom


DC: Bobby Moore (England) Country: 86.23%

All-time rank: 11

Player Image

The semi-mythical captain of the only World Cup winning England team. His greatness remains immortalised in a statue outside Wembley stadium. A stylish defender with an innate understanding of the game. Always cool under pressure on the pitch, and a gentleman off it. Not just an England great, but one of the greatest central defenders of all-time.

A wonderful defender and an even better leader. The rightful captain of the greatest ever British and Irish team.

Honourable mentions: Alan Hansen


DC: Paul Mcgrath (Ireland) Country: 81.99%

All-time rank: 144

Player Image

One of the greatest Irish players ever. He appeared in 2 World Cups ('90, '94). A tough tackling defender with a superb awareness of the game. Despite persistent problems with his knees, he played for Manchester United and Aston Villa for 7 seasons each. English Player of the Year winner in 1993.

The most controversial selection in this line-up, is dependent on the fitness and mindset of the Irishman. Concerns can be erased by watching him nullify Baggio in '94.

Honourable mentions: Tony Adams


DR: Billy Wright (England) Country: 83.08%

All-time rank: 96

Player Image

The first player to earn 100 caps in footballing history. The England legend won 105 caps for his country, captaining them for a record 90 appearances. He played over 70 consecutive games for the national side. Captained his country in three world cups (50, 54, 58). Never cautioned during his career. He played all of his career with Wolves.

Rightfully takes the right-back spot, but faced stiff competition for the captain's armband.

Honourable mentions: Danny McGrain


ML: Ryan Giggs (Wales) Country: 83.32%

All-time rank: 87

Player Image

The most decorated player in Premier League history. Record number of appearances for Manchester United, over a remarkable 23 year period. Most assists in Premier League history. The Welsh wing wizard would accelerate past defences during his early career, before adapting successfully to a more central role. PFA player of the year in 2008-2009. Unfortunately, he was never destined to play in a World Cup.

A fierce contest sees the Welshman earn selection based on his longevity and achievements.

Honourable mentions: Tom Finney, Gareth Bale


MC: Bobby Charlton (England) Country: 85.93%

All-time rank: 17

Player Image

Legendary England and Manchester United player. An essential member of the World Cup '66 winning squad. Record goal-scorer for England (49 goals in 106 caps), famed for his long-distance shooting prowess. One of the original Busby Babes, he survived the tragic Munich air disaster in 1958. He represented United until 1973, scoring 249 goals in 759 appearances during one of their strongest eras.

A 'no-brainer'.

Honourable mentions: Paul Scholes, Ray Houghton, Billy Bremner


DM: Roy Keane (Ireland) Country: 84.60%

All-time rank: 55

Player Image

Considered one of the greatest defensive midfielder's of all-time. In 2004, Pele selected him in the FIFA 100 list. Noted for his sheer aggression, and 'never-say-die' attitude. Former captain of Manchester United from 1997 to 2005, during one of the most successful periods in the club's history. The tough-tackling Irishman earned 67 caps internationally. Although sent home for a transgression during the 2002 World Cup, he remains an icon at both club and country level.

Every great team needs a combatitive player, willing to push his team-mates to their very limits. 

Honourable mentions: Steven Gerrard, Bryan Robson, Graeme Souness


MR: Stanley Matthews (England) Country: 84.84%

All-time rank: 43

Player Image

The 'Wizard of Dribble' and 'The Magician' are some of the monikers adorned to Stanley Matthews. The inaugural winner of the European Player of the Year in 1956. The only player in English history to have been knighted whilst still playing. Between 1934 and 1957 he earned 54 caps for England, scoring 11 goals. The World War disrupted his career between the age of 24 to 30 - during his prime years. But despite this, he is still internationally heralded as one of the true greats of football.

A legend that endures to the modern day - a century after his birth.

Honourable mentions: George Best, Jimmy Johnstone, David Beckham


FW: John Charles (Wales) Country: 83.56%

All-time rank: 76

Player Image

Acclaimed as the greatest player in Welsh history, and often considered as the most complete British player of all-time. Reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1958. A rare British success abroad in Italy, where he is still considered a legend. In Juventus he was nicknamed 'Il Gigante Buono' - the Gentle Giant, in reference to his imposing 6ft 2in physique and measured temperament. He scored 304 league goals in just 602 games. An iconic centre forward, he also mastered the art of defending to play central defence.

The Welshman's versatility and success abroad sees him edge out his contemporaries.

Honourable mentions: Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Denis Law


FW: Kenny Dalglish (Scotland) Country: 83.28%

All-time rank: 90

Player Image

Most capped Scottish player in international history with 102 caps, and also their record goalscorer (30). In 2006, 'King Kenny' was voted Liverpool's greatest ever player. Decorated club career, including 3 European titles. He scored 230 goals in 559 club appearances for Celtic and Liverpool. A skilful forward with strong mental attributes.

His rivals may claim a more prolific strike-rate, but the Scot's creativity and team-ethic guarantees his selection.

Honourable mentions: Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves, Ian Rush


Rate this article: 3 Vote Up Vote Down 1

Current Rating: 6.15

All Comments (3)

User's photo
Mark Lawes

McGrath was really good, and he's as good as any of the contenders. And its mentioned in the article that his selection is based upon his fitness and mindset. Sometimes players from smaller countries get overlooked. I think smaller populations = less people to hype. And I'm English!

June 27 at 3:42pm Reply | Flag

Click to rate: 1 Vote Up Vote Down 0

User's photo
Kal Kilby

Not sure if I agree. Adams/Campbell/Terry are all good defenders in strong teams, but McGrath was a great defender in some average teams. Good teams make the good individual players look great (some examples today in both Barcelona and Real Madrid). Would any of the defender's you mentioned have performed any better playing for Aston Villa or Ireland than McGrath? I'm not convinced.

June 20 at 6:19pm Reply | Flag

Click to rate: 0 Vote Up Vote Down 0

User's photo
Robbie Ackerman

erm... Banks over Jennings. Best over Matthews. And McGrath!!! Who could barely play two games in a week. Adams, Campbell, Terry, Ferdinand were all better. With this you'll increase the average team ratings, and maintain a player from each home country.

May 30 at 3:32pm Reply | Flag

Click to rate: 0 Vote Up Vote Down 1

User's photo
Mark Lawes

McGrath was really good, and he's as good as any of the contenders. And its mentioned in the article that his selection is based upon his fitness and mindset. Sometimes players from smaller countries get overlooked. I think smaller populations = less people to hype. And I'm English!

June 27 at 3:42pm Reply | Flag

Click to rate: 1 Vote Up Vote Down 0

User's photo
Robbie Ackerman

erm... Banks over Jennings. Best over Matthews. And McGrath!!! Who could barely play two games in a week. Adams, Campbell, Terry, Ferdinand were all better. With this you'll increase the average team ratings, and maintain a player from each home country.

May 30 at 3:32pm Reply | Flag

Click to rate: 0 Vote Up Vote Down 1

Premier League Flashback: Man City 3-2 QPR

Greatest finale ever to an English league season

Article Image
How did Wales become so good?

Tournament outcasts to European heroes

Article Image
Leicester City crowned Champions of England

The fairy-tale is complete

Article Image
Flashback: Keane's Horror Tackle on Haaland

United captain's vengeance

Article Image
The Meteoric Rise of 'little' Leicester City

Relegation fighters to title favourites

Article Image
Why are United struggling?

Analysis of their passing and shooting efficiency versus EPL teams

Article Image
London United XI

A Premier League Dream Team combined from the City's Clubs

Article Image
Faustino Asprilla: Flair, controversy and cult hero status

Signed for Newcastle twenty years ago

Article Image
Top 10 Strikers in World Football Today

Barca forwards dominate inaugural rankings

Article Image
Turbo-charged Liverpool Dismantle City

Red letter day for Anfield Club

Article Image
15/16 European Champions League Draw

Mixed fortunes for English teams

Article Image
Euro 2016 Draw - As it happened

England and Wales to face each other

Article Image
Legendary teams: Hungary 1950-56

The Mighty Magyar's remembered

Article Image
Mourinho: Charting his fall from grace

But does an opportunity exist?

Article Image
Most Astonishing FIFA Rankings Ever

Belgium secure top spot and other ranking surprises

Article Image
Before Sergio There Was Georgi

A tribute to a Man City hero in the club's darkest era

Article Image
Liverpool Sack Manager Brendan Rodgers

Klopp favourite to fill vacant positon

Article Image
How not to stretcher a player from the field!

Comedic scenes in Greek Second Division game

Article Image
Arsene Wenger: Charting the Highs and Lows

Gunners manager enters 20th year at Arsenal

Article Image
Tony Yeboah's Iconic Goal Remembered

Leeds cult hero's wonder strike 20 years ago

Article Image
Are Celtic Too Good for Scotland?

A Hoops fan's verdict to the great debate

Article Image
The day a legend announced himself to the world

Beckham's wonder goal against Wimbledon

Article Image
Clash of the Titans: Ronaldo vs Messi

Who is the greatest player in the world?

Article Image
Why Benteke £32.5m transfer is a huge gamble

Could define Liverpool's future

Article Image
Man Utd 15/16 Home Shirt Launched

Featuring a 300 style launch video

Article Image
Have you seen the Hulk Smash?

Viral videos of Zenit player showcasing his strength

Article Image
Clash of the Titans: Maradona vs Messi

Who is the greatest Argentinian ever?

Article Image
The Greatest England Team of All Time?

The ultimate dream team

Article Image
The Greatest Ever British & Irish XI

Several controversial omissions

Article Image