Jimmy On His International Days
This weekend Steven Gerrard will lead England onto the world’s greatest stage, as Roy Hodgson’s side embark on a fresh World Cup campaign.
While Jimmy Armfield’s experiences as the England skipper came either side of a World Cup, the armband was worn with immense pride on all 15 occasions by the Blackpool legend.
Voted the greatest right-back at the 1962 World Cup, Armfield looks back on his international career with total positivity.
“I was captain of England for three years and in that time I think the first time I came out at Wembley with the team, when I was at the front, was probably the best memory,” said Armfield.
“When we were playing, to be picked for England really was something. Now you get players who tell the manager they will be retiring from playing from England after the World Cup. Nobody would have dared, people were too patriotic,” he said.
Aided by Armfield’s performances, England bowed out at the quarter-finals in 1962, and having held the captaincy after that he looked set to remain in contention for the 1966 tournament, before a cruel twist.
“I’d been out of the team for a year, I lost my place through having a ruptured groin. They put me in for two matches, one at Wembley and one away, then I got injured in the last five minutes in Helsinki.
“You know when you play well and I’d played pretty well. I got a tiny crack on the side of my left foot, so he (Alf Ramsey) said I’m not playing you in the last match, and they never changed the defence after that.
“He might have already made his mind up what his team was, I’ll never really know,” said Armfield.
Now 78, Armfield will be watching with the rest of the nation on Saturday night, as England’s latest representatives aim to create a new chapter in English football history.