10 Arsenal Players Undervalued By England

As England prepare to take on the might of Montenegro (The Sun Says, “They’re OK, they fought with us in the wars!“) this evening, chance to reflect on those who have donned the Arsenal shirt and been woefully underappreciated by England:

10. Steve Bould

Oh, come on. 2 caps. Surely not? Having been part of the most consistently mean defence in the top flight, Bobby Robson continually overlooked Bould, preferring the likes of Butcher, Walker and Wright as England continued to qualify well and woefully underperform at Finals. Bould was certainly the equal of Butcher and better than the other pair. Yet his contribution to the Arsenal team was devalued outside of the club. His call-up came in 1994, arguably England’s nadir over the past thirty years, when Graham Taylor simply could not get anyone to perform. The defence bolstered by Bould played Greece and Norway without conceding, winning 5-0 in the first before a goalless draw against the Norwegians.

9. Nigel Winterburn

There are those who would argue that Stuart Pearce thoroughly deserved his place in the side yet Winterburn was equally consistent and probably deserved more than his brace of caps. He got off to a promising start, a substitute in England’s goalless draw against Italy in 1989. Quite what Winterburn did to merit being excluded from the England set-up until 1993 is beyond me, especially since the vastly over-rated Tony Dorigo was regularly included. It’s tempting to suggest that Winterburn might have done better than Pearce in that penalty shootout in 1990 but the memories of his feeble effort in the 1988 Littlewoods Cup Final preclude me from doing so. His final appearance was in the US Cup in 1993, a 1-2 defeat to Germany.

8. Peter Simpson

A toss-up as to whose omission was more startling; Simpson or Sammels. The latter is unfashionable to rate but in the late 1960s and having been capped by England at junior levels, he surely merited some caps at the senior level. But I’ll plump for Simpson on this occasion.

A stalwart for Arsenal, Simpson managed to get called into the England squad by Sir Alf Ramsey prior to Mexico 1970. Unsurprisingly given the talent that the manager had avaialble to him, the Arsenal player was never capped. Given the paucity of performances following the quarter-final defeat to Germany, it is totally surprising that he was never given the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level. Perhaps Arsenal players were not considered good enough, surprising that from 1968 to 1972, there were three losing finals, a league title, FA Cup and Fairs Cup along the way. But then in those days, being called into the squad was recognition of your talent rather than being a media-orchestrated campaign. And a cap? That meant the world.

7. Malcolm MacDonald

Scoring five goals in one match – still a record – and then scoring in a 2-0 win over West Germany (reigning World Champions at the time) ought to have cemented MacDonald’s place in the England line-up. That night in 1975, Cyprus the victims, was the pinnacle of his England career, which ended four months later in Portugal as England failed to qualify for the 1976 European Championships. All of this before he signed for Arsenal. His record of a goal every other game whilst at the club was not deemed good enough, despite being arguably the best in the country at the time, before the injury which ultimately ended his career struck. England’s appalling record in tournaments from 1972 to 1978 makes it all the more baffling as to why he didn’t earn more call-ups in his prime.

6. Charlie George

Hardly surprising that George did not earn more caps. 1970s football as far as England was concerned, was the dark ages for the maverick. Like kindred spirits, Frank Worthington, Stan Bowles and Alan Hudson, his was distrusted by Ramsey and Revie. His solitary call-up for the full team came in a 1976 friendly against the Republic of Ireland. He failed to score and was exiled with a speed that proved to be Revie’s template. Falling out with the manager was deemed to be justification for his previous omissions but his appearance came when he was past his prime.

5. Paul Davis

When he first broke into the team, Davis was rated highly, capped at Under-21 level, touted as a future international. It never happened. Partly because he was an undemonstrative midfielder, integral to Graham’s team, overshadowed by higher scoring individuals. His passing was exemplary – the Denilson of his era – and better than some who appeared for their country. The suspicion remains that breaking Glenn Cockerill’s jaw cost him more than the fine and subsequent nine-match ban.

4. Lee Dixon

A small gripe on this one. Dixon was capped 22 times for his country but it was nowhere near enough. Without a shadow of a doubt, Dixon was the most consistent right back in the top flight during his time at Arsenal. Far superior than Paul Parker, he could not match the versatility offered although Parker’s ability as a centre back was over-rated. More swashbuckling that Gary Stevens, the only reason for his lack of caps in comparison is that his face did not fit. Sitting next to Adrian Chiles has since rectified that problem.

3. Alan Sunderland

Forever etched into the minds of Arsenal supporters for the 1979 FA Cup Final, Sunderland arrived at the club from Wolves with a burgeoning reputation carved over 150 appearances. He enhanced that during seven years but never got international recognition primarily due to Arsenal’s dubious league performances preceding and during his time. His one appearance came amid a much derided tour of Australia, a 2-1 victory in Melbourne scant reward for his efforts.

2. Reg Lewis

Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to put down the lack of international appearances to a player being born at the wrong time. The Second World War denied him football in his prime. Despite this, Lewis scored 118 goals in 176 games for Arsenal but it was a time of arrogance for the nation, a time when they believed they ruled the world, a time when England could travel the globe and beat one and all. These beliefs would be shattered during three short years, starting in Belo Horizonte in 1950. It just so happened that it was the time of Mortensen and co, revered England internationals hence Lewis’ failure to gain a solitary cap.

1. George Armstrong

Wingless wonders? 1966 proved Ramsey right; 1970 hinted that he might not have lost the plot but subsequent events surely merited Armstrong’s inclusion, particularly with the traditional England centre forward emerging. It is simply baffling that such a hard working and talented player did not receive international recognition. Utterly baffling.

’til Tomorrow.

117 thoughts on “10 Arsenal Players Undervalued By England

  1. I cant get over that!

    Darren Bent has scored more goals than both of them combined in the PL but he gets no love from Capello.

    Wilshere is on the bench, when he is most likely the only player on the England Team with the skill necessary to unlock any defense.

    Capello is a joke!

  2. It is a start though, Consolsbob. Not the guillotine exactly but enough belt tightening and their heads will slowly turn blue and just pop right out of their salmon T.M.Lewin shirt collars.

    By the way, whoever’s responsible for inflicting ten minutes of vox pop on all of us in every single news report on the BBC needs the immediate sack. If you find someone with something interesting to say then by all means let us hear it – in fact, I like that sort of reporting. But what we get is an indiscrimate carpet bomb of lowest common denominator opinion from the the least eloquent, least employable section of society. The kind of people not busy enough to be out of camera shot at midday, or not sensible enough to dodge a cunt with a clipboard outside the Post Office. Wankers by the side of the road who form an opinion in an instant just to try it on for size, just because they’re on TV. These are the people we get when we come home and turn on the fucking news! It’s X-Factor journalism. What happened to hunting down expert talking heads, or people at the source of the story. The talking heads we get are barely even talking ones. They’re just heads.

    Look at the BBC sport website daily for examples of this. 606 idiots get their half-witted opinions published in articles right next to quotes from great men like Arsene Wenger. “Gooner69 reckons if we don’t buy a keeper in January then Pep Guardiola’s a shoe-in.” It’s all supposed to tempt us to ‘join the debate’. I’m sorry, but if you don’t know what you’re talking about then you shouldn’t be allowed to join the debate. That should be the motto.

    “Darryl, 27, Lewisham – what do you make of the toxic sludge disaster in Hungary?”

    Really gets on my tits.

    I suppose it’s a bit like asking Jamie Redknapp about football though. It just happens now.

  3. Limpar, did you ever watch Charlie brooker’s newsswipe? Catch it On YouTube if necessary, for it too took a very critical eye to the way news is reported in this country. Voxpoxes aren’t even news. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that people are stupid

  4. Why are so many Gooners creaming themselves that Jack didnt play.We dont want him to play do we?.
    He is a Gunner 1st and thats all that matters.England can get fucked

    By the way there was a great game last night at Hampden.A great team with world class players against a team who although not good enough never gave up.England could learn from both of them
    Spain play exactly like we do but they have a cutting edge unlike us

  5. They really are, Gadget. They really are.

    When are we getting Ocean Mist back, YW? I’ve forgotten what it all looked like. I know the font was nice and neat.

    How about a little sporting bet – like if RVP scores from a direct free-kick before Christmas… we get Ocean Mist back.

  6. I suppose it’s impossible to pull off now we have those hovercard things. Not that he was convincing anyone in the first place.

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