Though Roy Hodgson will be taking a young England squad to France for this summer’s European Championships, it would be fair to say that they are not short on international experience.
Of the 23 man squad that Hodgson has selected, only a handful have less than 10 international caps – and of those, only Marcus Rashford and Tom Heaton have just the one senior appearance to their name.
While Heaton and Rashford can almost certainly look forward to further caps, however, over 350 players have made a solitary appearance in an England shirt.
Some can feel slightly aggrieved that their international careers were cut short prematurely. Others can consider themselves lucky they were even called up in the first place.
Vs: Greece Date: 16th August 2006
In 1992, eleven-year-old Chris Kirkland’s father bet £100 at 100/1 that his son would one day play for England. Fourteen years later, Chris won his dad £10,000 by coming on as a half time substitute in Steve McClaren’s first game as England manager. Unfortunately for him, it would be the only 45 minutes of senior international football of his career, though he did keep a clean sheet in a 4-0 win.
Centre Back: Neil Ruddock
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 29, 2013
Vs: Nigeria Date: 16th November 1994
The then-Liverpool defender won his only cap in a friendly against Nigeria under manager Terry Venables. Still recovering from the shock of missing out on the World Cup earlier that summer, England still won 1-0 thanks to a David Platt goal just before half time. Ruddock played the whole 90 minutes but never featured again.
Centre Back: Ryan Shawcross
Vs: Sweden Date: 14th November 2012
Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross was one of six England debutants at the Friends Arena in Solna, though he may want to forget it. Replacing Steven Caulker on the 74th minute with England leading 2-1, Shawcross was on the pitch just long enough to witness Zlatan Ibrahimovic tear the side apart (which, to be fair, wasn’t Shawcross’s fault). The match finished 4-2 to Sweden and that was the end of Shawcross’s brief international career.
Centre Back: Steven Caulker
Vs: Sweden Date: 14th November 2002
Had a much more memorable game than Shawcross. Actually scored against Sweden to put England 2-1 before half time. Big things were expected of Caulker, but his career has not panned out that way. Last seen on loan at Liverpool, where he was their 35th choice centre back.
Left Midfield: Steve Guppy
Steve Guppy is the only footballer to have played for England, England B, England C and the England under 21’s. pic.twitter.com/Gb9x1Ahg0l
— Footy Trivia (@triviafooty) December 12, 2015
Vs: Belgium Date: 10th October 1999
Described by manager Kevin Keegan as “a left-sided David Beckham,” Guppy made his only England appearance in an international friendly against Belgium in October 1999. Despite playing the full 90 minutes, there would be no repeat of Guppy in an England shirt. (Incidentally, a 21-year-old Frank Lampard also made his debut in that match).
Centre Midfield: Joey Barton
Vs: Spain Date: 7th February 2007
Outspoken midfielder Joey Barton wasn’t exactly shy in his criticism of a large contingent of the 2006 World Cup England squad, so the atmosphere when he was playing with them less than a year later would have been awkward. Not that it was to become a long-running issue. Replacing Frank Lampard in the 79th minute, England would lose the match 1-0 and Barton’s international career lasted less time than it takes him to find good Nietzsche quotes for Twitter.
Centre Midfield: Gavin McCann
— All Premiership (@ftbllprmrshp) February 28, 2016
Vs: Spain Date: 28th February 2001
Sven-Göran Eriksson’s first game in charge of England was a 3-0 friendly victory against Spain. Sunderland midfielder McCann replaced Paul Scholes at half time, but would never play for the side again – presumably because Eriksson realised he had Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard at his disposal.
Right Midfield: Lee Bowyer
England..Lee Bowyer pic.twitter.com/UtmKQvQIjM
— Superb Footy Pics (@SuperbFootyPics) September 20, 2014
Vs: Portugal Date: 7th September 2002
Bowyer would probably have more England caps to his name than the one he received in this match, but a 2001 court case meant that the FA barred him from selection. He finally got his chance in late 2002, and actually set up England’s only goal of the game with a cross for Leeds teammate Alan Smith. He was replaced by Trevor Sinclair on the hour mark, and that was that.
Striker: Francis Jeffers
— SWFC (@beforechansiri) May 27, 2016
Vs: Australia Date: 12th February 2003
England replaced their entire starting eleven at half time in this match at Upton Park. Among the five deubatants to come on were 17 year old Everton striker Wayne Rooney and “fox in the box” Francis Jeffers. Though Jeffers scored England’s only goal in a 3-1 defeat, only one of those two forwards would ever represent the Three Lions again.
Striker: David Nugent
Vs: Andorra Date: 28th March 2007
Another member of the “1 cap 1 goal” club, Nugent took being bad sportsmanship to new heights when, upon seeing that Jermain Defoe’s shot was heading in, felt it necessary to tap the ball home and claim the goal for himself in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra.
Actually, words don’t do it justice…
Though he is the only one on this list to feature in anything other than a friendly, Nugent never played for England again – presumably because he wouldn’t have been safe around Defoe.
Striker: Michael Ricketts
Vs: Netherlands Date: 13th February 2002
Starting in a high-quality forward line alongside Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell, Ricketts actually came into this match in good form having scored 15 goals for newly promoted Bolton so far that season. However, he was replaced at half time for Frank Lampard, and his career has been on a downward spiral ever since. Eriksson’s side drew 1-1.