FLASHBACK: First England Team of the Millennium
Keegan horsing around during a pre-match training session
With the end of the first decade of the Millenium just about mouthing “hello” from over the horizon, The Spoiler is taking the opportunity to doff a cap to some of the teams that graced the field in the year 2000.
Today, it’s the turn of the first 21st Century England team, coached by Keegan, who played host to Argentina in a 0-0 thriller at Wembley on 23 February 2000. Listed below…
Goalkeeper, David Seaman (Arsenal, 56 caps)
Seaman was not just a grown man with a moustache, he was also a wonderful goalkeeper. So wonderful that only Peter Shilton can boast more international caps. Seaman went on to amass 75 of the things, whilst only slightly smudging his career with a howler against Brazil during the 2002 World Cup. You know, when Ronaldinho floated one in from miles away? Cringe!
Centre Back, Martin Keown (Arsenal, 28 caps)
Now a rather softly-spoken, haunting presence on the MOTD2 sofa, Martin Keown was considerably less eloquent with his tackling. Probably a victim of the Graham Taylor curse, he was overlooked for England throughout Venables’ reign, only to be brought back in by Hoddle, then absolutely adored by Keegan. Interestingly, both of his parents were/are Irish.
Centre Back, Sol Campbell (Spurs, 30 caps)
During his England career, Campbell managed to feature in six successive tournaments, which apparently is a record for an English player. Well done Sol. And who knows? He might even make it to a seventh one day. Probably not though. He’s currently looking for a new home.
Centre Back, Gareth Southgate (Aston Villa, 34 caps)
The third wheel in this three-man defence was Gareth Southgate – legendary penalty-botcher from 1996. Still, nothing a well-observed advert for pizzas couldn’t fix – the nation forgave him, and Southgate went on to play at international level until 2004. Current status: looking for work.
Right Midfield, Kieron Dyer (Newcastle, 4 caps)
In today’s Sun, it’s been revealed that Kieron Dyer has been so injury-prone that he’s cost West Ham roughly £406,666 per game. That is not particularly good value for money. And yet, back in the dawn of the Millenium he looked set to become quite the international firecracker. Not so, he has currently stalled on 33 caps and no goals.
Centre Midfield, David Beckham (Man United, 28 caps)
Beckham was only seven months into his marriage when he faced Argentina at Wembley – less than two years after his notorious sending off in the 1998 World Cup. He has since gone on to win a further 87 caps, score 16 more goals, get a load of weird tatts done, an enjoy some intriguing/baffling new hairstyles.
Centre Midfield, Paul Scholes (Man United, 21 caps)
Before Lampsie and Gerrard came along and messed things up, Scholes was brilliant in the centre of midfield, and shortly before this Argentina match, he’d put a couple past the Scots in a World Cup play-off. In 2004 he retired from international football, mainly because the aforementioned Lampsie/Gerrard conundrum forced him to play out of position on the left.
Centre Midfield, Dennis Wise (Chelsea, 14 caps)
Wise won 21 caps over ten years for England, and 2000 was probably his finest year. It was also his last as an England player. Small and aggressive, he doesn’t appear to have changed much since his playing days, and he’s not hugely popular in Newcastle at the moment.
Left Midfield, Jason Wilcox (Leeds United, 3 caps)
Back in 2000, Wilcox was hailed as the answer to the niggling left-wing problem that had dogged England for so many years – not any more! Thanks to… erm… Steven Gerrard? Or Joe Cole? Oh, there’s no point lying to you, it’s still a problem. A big problem. Anyway, this was Jason’s third and final international game, before injuries started buggering things up for him.
Striker, Emile Heskey (Leicester City, 5 caps)
If this match belonged to anyone, it was Emile Heskey. It’s probably quite hard to imagine it now, but this very game announced Heskey as a terrifying world force – Argentina had no idea how to deal with him. In many ways, it was a similar introduction in terms of impact to Wayne Rooney’s against Turkey over three years later. Now the England front two, rather fittingly.
Striker, Alan Shearer (Newcastle, 57 caps)
At this stage in proceedings, Shearer was just six caps away from hanging up his international boots. He managed 30 goals in 63 England matches, and can now be found stating the obvious every Saturday night.
PLUS, for those still interested, substitutes that day included: Rio Ferdinand, Phil Neville, Ray Parlour, Kevin Phillips, and Andy Cole.