When was the last time England started with no Manchester United players?

Paul Howarth
robson 300x225 When was the last time England started with no Manchester United players?

Bryan Robson at the 1990 World Cup

England’s recent games versus Moldova and Ukraine were remarkable for very little.  The former a routine win over a modest side; the latter a workmanlike performance to deny opponents the victory they sought (as opposed to striving for one themselves).

Then, during the second half in Kiev, I got a text from Big Pat.  When, he asked, was the last time England started a competitive fixture with not a single Manchester United player prior to this last week’s fixtures?

It got me thinking.  [God knows, I needed something over and above the game to occupy my mind.]  The short answer is “ooh, quite a while ago” but beyond that I was struggling a bit.  In the last decade there’s always been a Rooney and/or a Ferdinand.  Prior to that, a Beckham and/or a Neville.  The Search was on.

I was now back in the early Nineties.  This XI from that game against Sweden at Euro ’92 came close:

Woods, Pearce, Walker, Keown, Batty, Palmer, Sinton, Webb, Platt, Daley, Lineker.

Plenty of comments you could make about that line-up.  But sadly, for The Search’s purposes, Neil Webb was still a United player, albeit he’d played his last game for them and would return to Nottingham Forest the following season before finally finding happiness as a postman.

At one point, I thought I might have to delve back as far as 1986 for this rather splendid side that faced Argentina (I forget the result):

Shilton, Stevens, Fenwick, Butcher, Sansom, Reid, Hoddle, Hodge, Steven, Beardsley, Lineker.

Subs Barnes and Waddle maintained the United-less-ness on that occasion.

gazza 300x225 When was the last time England started with no Manchester United players?

Paul Gascoigne before the semi-final in Turin

But then I remembered that, in 1990, Paul Parker was still a Queens Park Rangers player.  Which meant that once Bryan Robson picked up his customary injury part-way through the tournament, the England team that faced West Germany read as follows:

Shilton (Derby County), Parker (QPR), Butcher (Rangers), Walker (Nottingham Forest), Wright (Derby County), Pearce (Nottingham Forest), Waddle (Olympique de Marseille), Gascoigne (Tottenham Hotspur), Platt (Aston Villa), Beardsley (Liverpool), Lineker (Tottenham Hotspur).

So that’s my offering.  That oh-so-nearly glorious night in Turin.

Have I cracked it or can you set me right?  Answers below please.

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  • TRG01

    I wondered about that, but can’t find much of the game online, though the pre-match talk was of Platt being in the middle, with Ince on the right, leaving open the possibility of McManaman covering at right back?? Surely not…?

  • Bertram LeFarge

    It says a lot about the state of the english game when we’re being posed questions like this.

  • TRG01

    I didn’t state, or even imply, that any of those players were born in Salford and brought through Man Utd’s youth scheme, I was simply pointing out their collection of internationally-capped English players.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs that only Welbeck (and Cleverly?) did indeed come through the youth scheme, but an even sorrier affair that Man Utd’s propensity for buying English players is at all unique or noteworthy. I draw your attention to Tottenham’s recent dealings in the transfer market by way of direct comparison.

  • TRG01

    Though having said that, I’ve been certain of Erikson being the closest thing to Paul Scholes I’ve seen.

    He’s going to be superb for 2-3 years and then go to OT for £50m. You heard it here first!

  • wakeuptheworld

    What a silly question!
    The manager of the English team takes the best players he thinks will win, if they fail he loses his job. When Manchester United don’t have the best players things will change. You seem to know your football history so your question is just a joke to get fans stirred up. Shame on you!

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