Skip to main content

Banks to Clemence, Shilton to Seaman – England’s greatest goalkeepers

England keepers

Former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence has died at the age of 72.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the best keepers to have played for the national team.

Gordon Banks

The former Leicester and Stoke number one is regarded as one of the best keepers of all time. A key member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, Banks won 73 caps and produced what is widely regarded as the greatest ever save to keep out Pele’s header in a match against Brazil at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Banks died in February 2019 aged 81.

Ray Clemence

Ray Clemence (right) made 61 appearances for the Three Lions before injury curtailed his playing career

Ray Clemence (right) won 61 caps for England (PA)

Liverpool goalkeeper Clemence, who also went on to play for Tottenham, made his England debut in 1972. Over the next 11 years, he and Peter Shilton would alternate appearances, which limited his number of caps to 61. After England failed to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, Clemence was part of the 1982 squad but did not play in Spain, where England failed to get out of the second group stage. But he won five Division One titles and three European Cups during a trophy-laden spell at Anfield and enjoyed success at Spurs too before an Achilles injury ended his playing career in 1988. Clemence then went on to become an integral part of the England coaching set-up before stepping away from the game in 2013.

Peter Shilton

With 125 appearances, Shilton is England’s most capped player and his international career spanned some 20 years and took in three World Cups. In 1986 he was involved in one of the most controversial World Cup incidents as Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored his ‘Hand of God’ goal to help knock England out in the quarter-finals. Four years later, Shilton was part of Bobby Robson’s squad which reached the semi-finals of Italia ’90, only to this time lose a penalty shoot-out to West Germany. Shilton enjoyed a long playing career with Leicester, Stoke, Nottingham Forest, where he won the European Cup twice, Southampton and Derby before joining Plymouth as player-manager in 1992.

David Seaman

David Seaman's saves in the penalty shoot-out win over Spain helped England reach the semi-finals of Euro 96 at Wembley

David Seaman’s saves in the penalty shoot-out win over Spain helped England reach the semi-finals of Euro 96 at Wembley (Adam Butler/PA)

Former Arsenal keeper Seaman made his England debut in 1988 and went on to eventually establish himself as the regular number one under Terry Venables, making a total of 75 international appearances. Known as ‘Safe Hands’, he produced key saves as England beat Spain on penalties to reach the semi-finals of Euro 96 at Wembley, where the Three Lions suffered more shoot-out heartbreak with defeat by Germany. After being caught off his line by a long-range free-kick from Ronaldinho in the quarter-final defeat at the 2002 World Cup, Seaman’s position as first choice came under scrutiny and he was replaced by David James in the run-up to Euro 2004. He retired at the end of the 2003/2004 season, having left Arsenal for Manchester City after winning the league title three times, four FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup with the Gunners.