Who is the best footballer never to play for England?
There have been some outstanding candidates down the years and it is a debate that continues to be the subject of much bar-room debate – who is the best player never to play for England?
Everybody has their own view and age is obviously a factor but Steve Bruce would certainly be a popular choice and the former Manchester United defender insists that he actually turned down the chance to represent England when Terry Venables was in charge.
Bruce guided Hull City back to the Premier League but quit the club prior to the start of the 2016/17 season after becoming frustrated by a lack of transfer activity. Everybody wrote Hull City off and they were expected to be the whipping boys of the whole division. Mike Phelan took temporary charge but a crippling injury list meant that the Tigers were down to the bare bones for the visit of Leicester City in the season’s curtain-raiser.
Hull produced a spirited display, to defeat the surprise 2015/16 Premier League champions and one player was immense – Curtis Davies. The 31 year old has been in sparkling form in their subsequent three matches, producing displays that mark him out as the best player across Europe’s top five leagues, as shown in the Oulala infographic below.
Davies has produced more interceptions, more blocks and more clearances than any other player, which is some feat when you consider how many players have appeared in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Seria A and Ligue 1 this season.
The centre-back has won two England U21 caps and was even called up by Fabio Capello in 2008, which was some achievement, bearing in mind that Davies had labelled himself as a pub player.
Despite his fantastic form, Davies may never go on to represent England at the highest level but at least for a short period of time, he can boast that he has the sort of statistics that put him in the reckoning for that best player to never play for England title.
Obviously, such detailed statistics were not available when the likes of Billy Bonds and even Bruce himself were plying their trade but that’s not Davies’ fault, so it’s only fair to judge him on what he is achieving. He was nominated for August’s Premier League Player of the Month Award but missed out as Raheem Sterling came out on top. If he keeps up his current form, he might just catch the eye of Big Sam and clinch that long-overdue cap!
Who do you think is the greatest English footballer never to play for England ?