Peter Shilton – England Number One
Peter Shilton showed so much early promise that he pushed aside the great Gordon Banks as a Leicester City teenager before building a monumental career that rivals even that of Banks for the bragging rights as the best goalkeeper ever to play for England.
He remains the most capped player to ever appear for England with a staggering tally of 125, appeared in three World Cups, won two European Cups and played in over 1000 matches over a 30-year career.
Those are just some of the stats which underline his status as a goalkeeping legend although he left the game without winning a major international trophy and suffered a gut wrenching loss in the ‘Hand of God’ quarter-final defeat to Maradona’s Argentina in 1986.
Four years later in another World Cup classic, he left the international stage for good following an equally painful semi-final elimination in a penalty shoot-out at the hands of Germany.
Had England not failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, his international figures would be significently higher than 17 tournament matches and a shared record of 10 clean sheets with Frenchman Fabien Barthez.
It all began as a 13-year-old apprentice at his hometown club Leicester City where he made his first team debut as a 16-year-old and soon after convinced team management to sell Banks on to Stoke Ciy and place their future in Shilton.
In 1970, Alf Ramsey gave him his first cap in the England goal in a 3-1 victory over East Germany which coincided with Leicester’s promotion to the first division.
Glory days under Clough
After 12 years with City, he followed Banks to Stoke for three seasons before Brian Clough paid 250,000 pounds to bring him to Nottingham Forest where he had his greatest success.
The team remarkably won the old first division in 1978 on their first season back in the top flight, Shilton conceded just 18 goals in 37 matches and he picked up the gong as Player of the year.
A year later at Munich a single Trevor Francis goal against Malmo of Sweden sealed the European Cup for Forest, and as the old adage says, strikers win matches, defences win trophies.
The next season it was a similar picture as Forest made it two on the trot by edging Hamburg 1-0 in Madrid when England captain Kevin Keegan was on the opposing side for the German club.
Ron Greenwood was now in charge of England and Shilton won a prolonged battle for the number one job after fighting off competition from Liverpool’s Ray Clemence.
He only made his World Cup debut in 1982 when England exited the tournament without losing a match in Spain which preceeded the 1986 quarter-final when Maradona punched the ball over Shilton in one of the most famous incidents in football. So famous in fact it overshadowed one of the greatest goals ever scored at a World cup, Maradona’s second against England, a mazy run past six defenders and Shilton too before slotting home from a tight angle.
Following Italia 90, where Germany broke English hearts and Paul Gascoigne inspired “Gazzamania”, Shilton’s career wound down until his retirement in 1997 where he quit the game with 1005 appearances and spells at 11 clubs.
He was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), had well documented problems with gambling and is now a popular after dinner speaker. © 2010 AFP
- Surname: Shilton
- Firstname: Peter
- Country: England
- Date of birth: 1949-09-18
- Birthplace: Leicester
- Height: 185 cm
- Position: goalkeeper
- Leicester City (1966-1974)
- Stoke City (1974-1977)
- Nottingham Forest (1977-1982)
- Southampton (1982-1987)
- Derby County (1987-1992)
- Plymouth Argyle (1992-1995)
- Wimbledon (1995)Bolton Wanderers (1995)
- Coventry City (1995-1996)
- West Ham (1996)
- Leyton Orient (1996-1997)
- International appearances: 125 (national record)
- International debut: 2511/1970, England-East Germany (3-1)
- Last international appearance: 07/07/1990, Italy-England (2-1)
- World Cup: semi-finalist (1990), quarter-finalist (1986), second round (1982), 3 appearances, 17 matches, 10 clean sheets – record
- European Championships: first round (1988), 1 appearance, 2 matches
- 2 European Cups (1979, 1980)
- 1 European Supercup (1979)
- 1 English Championship (1978)
- 1 League Cup (1979)
- 1 FA Cup final (1969)
- English Player of the year (1978)
- Awarded MBE and OBE
- Clubs: Plymouth Argyle (1992-1995)
- England’s Number One
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