10 players you definitely forgot earned England call-ups – but never won a cap
Paul Warhurst – last call-up in March 1993
Warhurst boasts one of the most bizarre individual goalscoring seasons in English football history, having plundered 18 goals for Sheffield Wednesday in 1992/93 – leading to this unlikeliest of England call-ups.
He would later become known as a journeyman pro who played for 16 different clubs, but back as a 23-year-old, centre-back Warhurst had been shunted forward in an injury crisis and enjoyed the most effective campaign of his life. So effective, in fact, that he capitalised on injuries to Alan Shearer and David Hirst to make Graham Taylor’s squad as a striker for a USA ‘94 qualifier against Turkey. Five days later, however, he was out thanks to a pulled muscle in training.
Although he later became a Premier League winner with Blackburn, Warhurst never got the call from his country again – and never managed more than three goals in a campaign, having been pushed back to his utility role(s).
Shaka Hislop – last call-up in March 1998
Strange as it now seems after he went on to represent Trinidad and Tobago on 26 occasions, Hislop was on the verge of becoming a fully-fledged England international back in 1998. Then battling with Shay Given for the No.1 shirt at Newcastle, he was called up by Glenn Hoddle for a friendly with Chile.
The one-time England U21 international took no part in the game – which ended in a 2-0 defeat thanks to a brace by the impressive Marcelo Salas – leaving him free to switch back to the country of his parents’ birth a year later. He was in goal as Trinidad and Tobago came close to holding England in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup.
Steve Froggatt – last call-up in February 2000
In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, England’s lack of natural left-footed players became a source of endless debate. A series of different and somewhat unfashionable alternatives were tried, resulting in call-ups for the likes of Steve Guppy, Darren Eadie, Alan Thompson and Steve Froggatt.
Coventry winger Froggatt was twice selected by Kevin Keegan but denied the chance to make his debut the second time around when a Nicky Summerbee tackle injured his ankle and ruled him out of contention.
Even worse, it was to end his career prematurely – surgery was unable to fix the problem. Froggatt announced his retirement after a year on the sidelines trying to recover.
Matt Jansen – last call-up in April 2002
Sven-Goran Eriksson was a big fan of the young Blackburn striker whose goals fired Rovers to promotion and a League Cup win in their first season back in the Premier League. Jansen was duly rewarded with a call-up for a friendly against Paraguay in April 2002, but was forced to withdraw because of illness.
He was hopeful of being included in England’s World Cup squad, but was overlooked for experienced Arsenal defender Martin Keown at the last moment. That summer, Jansen was involved in a motorbike accident while on holiday in Italy and spent six days in a coma.
Although he was able to resume his career, he was never quite the same player again.
David Thompson – last call-up in October 2002
After making his breakthrough at Liverpool, Thompson had to move elsewhere in search of regular first-team football. He dropped out of the Premier League with Coventry but made a triumphant return at Blackburn in the summer of 2002, and a good opening to the season under Graeme Souness led to his England inclusion under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Thompson didn’t play against either Slovakia or Macedonia, however, and wasn’t able to earn another chance as a series of injury problems affected his career. It was eventually cut short in 2007 at the age of just 30, following brief spells with Portsmouth and Bolton.