Yorkshire Day: Footballers born in ‘God’s own county’ starting XI


Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | Updated August 1, 2016

All-time Yorkshire XI

While August 1st is just a normal day for most of the UK, it is one of celebration in England’s largest historic county of Yorkshire.

So, in recognition of Yorkshire Day, Coral have come up with a starting XI plus seven subs of famous footballers born within the borders of the patriotic region, often referred to as ‘God’s own county’.

Goalkeeper: Gordon Banks (born in Sheffield)

One of the world’s, let alone England’s, greatest keepers of all time, former Leicester City (9/4 for a top six Premier League finish) and Stoke City (10/1) stopper Banks is a World Cup champion and won six straight FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year awards.

Picked ahead of the likes of other Yorkshire-born custodians David Seaman, Paul Robinson and erm… Paddy Kenny.

Watch ‘that save’, dubbed as the greatest ever, when Banks somehow kept out a Pele header at the 1970 World Cup…

Right back: Kyle Walker (Sheffield)

One of the few England players to perform reasonably well at Euro 2016, it’s unfortunate Walker follows Three Lions legend Banks in this list. A promising flying full back in his youth, and still is when fit, he remains first-choice for Tottenham.

Centre back: Mick McCarthy (Barnsley)

If you were ever to describe a Yorkshireman’s personality, McCarthy would be your man; just give him a flat cap and whippet and he’d be the full package. He did go back on his county, though, when he chose to represent Republic of Ireland at international level and even played in France for Lyon!

McCarthy is now a respected manager, and is currently in charge of southern side Ipswich Town, who are 11/2 shouts for promotion from the Championship.

Here is footage of everyone’s favourite Mick clip…

Centre back: John Scales (Harrogate)

The total opposite of McCarthy in terms of personality, perhaps as Scales is from the more upmarket spa town of Harrogate, the former Wimbledon and Liverpool defender was a very calm and collected collected player in his day.

Left back: Danny Rose (Doncaster)

Rose started his career as a left winger, and was snapped up by Spurs as a youngster from Leeds United, before converting to a wing back and has since established himself as first-choice for club and country his position.

Centre midfield: James Milner (Leeds)

A typical Yorkshireman at work, just gets on with his job without any fuss or bother. Versatile Milner is a real grinder of player, and his tenacity and determination is highly appreciated by his teammates as he does all the hard work for them.

Unselfish and versatile player Milner will hold talks with new England boss Sam Allardyce about his international future, having had limited game time at Euro 2016 despite a plethora of assists for club team Liverpool this calendar year.

Centre midfield: David Batty (Leeds)

Elland Road legend Batty may be well-known for missing the crucial penalty in a shoot-out in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina, after David Beckham was infamously sent off, but his 42 caps show that he had talent. Went on to play over on the wrong side of t’Pennines with Blackburn Rovers and then further north with Newcastle United in-between his two spells at Leeds.

Batty’s former side Leeds are priced as fourth-favourites at 9/1 to be top Yorkshire club in the Championship this season.

Right wing: Aaron Lennon (Leeds)

Down the right wing, we have picked lightning-quick Lennon, another who is on Spurs’ books. He started his career at Leeds too, and has played 21 times for England.

Attacking midfield: Kevin Keegan (Doncaster)

Along with Banks, Keegan is perhaps the best footballer to have come from the county, and one of the most talented the country has produced. As a player, he was adored by the likes of Liverpool, Hamburg (where he won the Ballon d’Or), and Newcastle United.

It is with the latter as a manager where his northern accent is fondly remembered – to Manchester United fans…

Left wing: Nick Barmby (Hull)

A debatable decision here, not because of his ability but the question of whether Hull is on Yorkshire’s borders or not. Humberside’s ceremonial county is East Riding of Yorkshire, so we’ll go by that.

Barmby, who had 23 caps for England, played most of his career for home side Hull City, but is better known for his spells with the likes of Spurs, Middlesbrough, Everton and Liverpool.

Striker: Brian Clough (Middlesbrough)

It was a shame that the late great Clough didn’t earn more than two England caps in his playing career, as he was so prolific in front of goal for hometown team Middlesbrough (7/1 for a top 10 finish) and then Sunderland.

However, he will of course be better known for his managerial success, where he guided Nottingham Forest to successive European Cup triumphs as well as guiding them and East Midlands rivals Derby County to league titles.

Middlesbrough may no longer be a part of the county, which is why we couldn’t include Jonathan Woodgate or Stewart Downing, but it was when Clough, who was a typically outspoken Yorkshireman, was born in 1935.


David Seaman (Rotherham)
John Stones (Barnsley)
Michael Dawson (Northallerton)
Fabian Delph (Bradford)
Stuart McCall (Leeds)
Bill Nicholson (Scarborough)
Jamie Vardy (Sheffield)

Notable mention:

Radamel Falcao – Although a world famous striker from Colombia, it recently came to prominence while Falcao spent a season on loan with Man Utd that his great-grandfather was a Yorkshireman, from the village of Burn (near Selby). Ex-Chelsea and Manchester United attacker Falcao’s ancestor George King emigrated to Colombia in 1932, where he was an accountant.


You’ll find more trivia articles on Coral’s dedicated page.

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