World Cup - Ricky Charlesworth: Recalling Yorkshire’s representation on the biggest stage

Running round Wembley with the cup: Jack Charlton looks back as Ray Wilson puts the Jules Rimet Trophy on his head after England win the World Cup in 1966. Picture:  Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Running round Wembley with the cup: Jack Charlton looks back as Ray Wilson puts the Jules Rimet Trophy on his head after England win the World Cup in 1966. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
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Only a handful of players receive the honour of being called up to play for their country at a World Cup.

And only a select few from clubs within the Broad Acres have managed that feat over the years.

The year 2002 holds the record for the most number of call-ups for Yorkshire-based players with 11 travelling to Japan and South Korea.

Ricky Charlesworth

Since 1950, 77 players from the county’s clubs have received World Cup call-ups.

Leeds United dominate the list with a total of 30, while Middlesbrough are second with 16.

Sheffield Wednesday can lay claim to nine while Sheffield United and Hull City both have seven to their name.

Before this year’s staging Huddersfield Town had only three players on their list, but that has now doubled to six.

Doncaster and Bradford have one apiece, while Rotherham and Barnsley both have none.

Arguably the most successful year for Yorkshire’s representatives came in 1966 when England famously lifted the World Cup for the first and only time. That monumental win saw Leeds’s Jack Charlton start for England while club-mate Norman Hunter and Wednesday’s Ron Springett watched from the sidelines.

Ray Wilson, of course, was part of the team that beat West Germany, but by that time he had already left Huddersfield for Everton.

The 1978 World Cup in Argentina represented a nadir for White Rose clubs with not a single call-up.

The 1994 tournament in the United States saw the joint second-highest total with seven call-ups and four years later, in France, another seven were chosen.

Hamilton Ricard got the nod from Colombia and his Boro team-mate Paul Merson got a call-up for England, which proved to be bitter-sweet.

Merson did not play any part in the group stages, but was brought on for the final 12 minutes of the infamous last-16 encounter with Argentina.

Despite Merson converting his penalty in the shootout England went on to exit the tournament.

The same year five Leeds players were in action including South Africa’s Lucas Radebe and Holland’s Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink.

This year seven players from our region have been summoned to Russia.

Huddersfield trio Jonas Lossl and Zanka (both Denmark) plus Aaron Mooy (Australia) are joined by Leeds’s Pontus Jansson (Sweden) and Hull’s Kamil Grosicki (Poland), Jackson Irvine (Australia) and Sweden’s Seb Larsson, who, despite having since left the club, was a Tigers player at the time of his selection.

The year 2002 holds the record for the highest number of call-ups for Yorkshire-based players with 11 travelling to Japan and South Korea.

Leeds provided the vast majority of these with eight players, including England quartet Nigel Martyn, Danny Mills, Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler.

Middlesbrough’s Gareth Southgate (England) and Alen Boksic (Croatia) plus Sheffield United’s Patrick Suffo (Cameroon) completed the White Rose line-up.

Suffo suffered the ignominy that year of being sent off just 25 minutes after going on as a substitute during his country’s 2-0 defeat to Germany.

He is the only player in Yorkshire’s select band to be given his marching orders on football’s biggest stage.

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