Decent English players have disappointingly come at a premium in recent years.
But it wasn’t always the way that we were short of world class talent – and we can prove that using FIFA stats from the past 20 years of games.
The list below is of the best English player in every edition of the game since 2005 (seemingly when mass statistics began, kinda like the Premier League’s conception), and how high they rank overall in each FIFA.
And if you want a TL;DR, it’s basically this – damn it Gareth Bale, why can’t you be English?!
Harry Kane & Wayne Rooney – 84
If there was a clearer indication of a decline in the pool of English talent, it would simply be this: when FIFA 17 was released, Harry Kane was the highest rated English player – but was the 91st best player overall in the game.
Wayne Rooney joined him with an 84 rating, but there’s plenty where that came from…
Wayne Rooney – 86
The Manchester United and England legend was still hanging on in there according to EA Sports as early as the release of FIFA 16 in September 2015, with the striker named the 39th best player on the game.
Wayne Rooney – 86
Rooney sneaked into the top 30 rated players in FIFA 15, with a rating of 86 – the same as the likes of Radamel Falcao and Neymar. Whatever happened to the latter?
Wayne Rooney – 87
The English striker was capable of reaching a magical 92 rating on FIFA 14, a potential matched only by the likes of Eden Hazard, Andres Iniesta, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He was the seventh best player in the game.
Wayne Rooney – 89
It’s quite poor from an English perspective that Rooney has dominated this list for so many years, but his rating took a bit of a hit in FIFA 13, dropping to 89 and finding himself the 17th highest ranked player in the game.
Wayne Rooney – 90
Can you see a pattern forming here? Rooney, in 2017, is probably underappreciated, and it’s only when you really look back at these sort of stats that you realise his global appeal was HUGE. He was the fifth best player in FIFA 13.
Wayne Rooney – 88
While he could reach a potential of 91, Rooney’s 88 rating was still enough to make him the fifth highest ranked player in the game.
Steven Gerrard – 88
Now things get interesting! The Liverpool legend’s rating of 88 put him ahead of countrymen Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry (all 87), and made him the tenth highest rated player in the game.
Steven Gerrard and John Terry – 88
Tasty, this. Two English players with a decent 88 rating, sitting them alongside the likes of footballing royalty Carlos Puyol and Alessandro Nesta. Ah, English football has had its bright sparks in recent memory.
Wayne Rooney and John Terry – 90
Wazza and JT, with an equal rating as Thierry Henry and Kaka. Makes you proud, doesn’t it? The duo were ranked only after the following: Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianluigi Buffon and Kaka. Not bad company.
Wayne Rooney – 92
Not just a 92 – Wayne Rooney was the best player on the game. In the entire game, people!
Wayne Rooney – 93
Wayne Rooney’s best ever rating in a FIFA game to date, yet in a seemingly bloated field, his 93 rating only saw him named joint seventh highest ranked player in the game.
Steven Gerrard – 93
Going back some time now, but you may remember a certain Steven Gerrard inspired Liverpool to a cup in this year. Probably best his Champions League heorics were honoured the previous year when he was named the best English player in the game, ahead of centre-back duo Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand.
(All values from FIFA Index from the ratings given on release dates not taking into account seasonal upgrades where appropriate. The list is ranked according to FIFA Index in which players with higher potential are higher than those with less potential, when given the same FIFA rating)