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Top Ten: Sunderland's England Internationals

Who features on our list of England internationals who've played at Sunderland? You'll have to read on and find out.
Who features on our list of England internationals who've played at Sunderland? You'll have to read on and find out.

You thought you had seen every Top Ten we had to offer, didn't you? Well, seeing as Adam Johnson's arrival on Wearside means there's a current - albeit injured - England international on our books we were able to dig another one out.

Those that have made the list have represented England whilst at Sunderland, so the great Brian Clough misses out, alongside the likes of Colin Todd, Paul Bracewell and Barry Venison.

Admittedly, this has been one long delve through the history books, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. Hopefully, it reads that way too. So let's get cracking; here is Sunderland's Top Ten England internationals...

10. Johnny Mapson (Apps: 2)

Ever heard the one about a teenage goalkeeper thrown in the deep end and came out and league and Cup winner? Well, this is it.

As an 18-year-old, Mapson had only played a handful of games for Third Division side Reading before joining Sunderland and being thrust into their championship-chasing team. Having secured the league title, the young keeper did not make enough appearances to be awarded a league winners medal, so went one better the following season as Sunderland beat Preston North End 3-1 in the 1937 FA Cup final.

Mapson's international recognition was to come during the breakout of War, touring to South Africa and playing a wartime international against Wales.

Post-World War II, Mapson returned to Wearside and was part of the ‘Bank of England' side.

9. Thomas Porteous (Apps: 1)

The right-back in successive league title wins - Sunderland's first and second in history - Porteous would only represent his country once, albeit in the first-ever international to be held in Sunderland - England's 4-1 win over Wales in 1891.

Porteous, an ever-present in the first league win, somewhat defies logic considering that Sunderland's second league title was won by a considerable 11-point margin. I guess the ‘big club effect' didn't come in until later.

8. Bobby Gurney (Apps: 1)

Sunderland's highest-ever goal scorer managed just one international game, but was at least able to bring silverware to Wearside in the form of the 1936 First Division title, and the FA Cup the following year.

In a career that noted ten first-team hat-tricks, two four-goal hauls and the occasional five-timer, that Gurney did not feature for his country more is one of the great mysteries. Anyone have Jess Fletcher's phone number?

7. Kevin Phillips (Apps: 8)

The modern-day version of ‘he should definitely have played more for England', Phillips' partnership with Niall Quinn at Sunderland fired them back to the top flight, before successive seventh-place finishes under Peter Reid.

England's only European Golden Boot winner would never be afforded a full 90 minutes to showcase his talents - something that Darren Bent would later endure as a Sunderland player - depicted perfectly during Euro 2000 as England crashed out in the group stages with Phillips an unused substitute on three occasions.

6. Len Shackleton (Apps: 5 Goals: 1)

Shackleton remains one of Sunderland's best players to have never won a trophy during his career, with the third-place finish in 1950 the closest he came to securing a seventh league title for Sunderland. Despite that, his exploits on Wearside still saw him called up to the national team - his only goal coming against world champions West Germany.

Walter Winterbottom, England manager at the time, would later say of Shackleton: "If only Len would come half-way to meet the needs of the team there wouldn't be many to touch him."

5. Arthur Bridgett (Apps: 11 Goals: 3)

Outside-left Arthur Bridgett is Sunderland's second most-capped player, having captained his club for a decade and amassing more than 300 appearances in which he scored more than 100 goals.

Like Shackleton, Bridgett's brilliance did not lead to silverware, which did arrive in Sunderland the season that he left to manage South Shields. Despite that, Bridgett will always be remembered fondly by Sunderland fans for his brace in the club's 9-1 win over Newcastle United at St. James' Park.

All three of his England goals were to come on summer tours; the first two against Austria and his last international goal against Hungary in 1909.

4. Charlie Buchan (Apps: 6 Goals: 4)

Sunderland's all-time record league scorer, a First Division winner and frequently described as the best footballer in the country at the time. Buchan was, in layman's terms, the boy.

Despite that, history tells of fans not being entirely sold on him originally; after one game in November, 1911, Buchan told his manager Bob Kyle: "I'll never kick another ball for Sunderland."

That came after a fiercely passionate Roker Park crowd had vented frustrations towards their 20-year-old forward, but fortunately he was convinced to give it another go, and subsequently scored twice in a 3-1 win before setting off on a mission to be one of Sunderland's greatest players.

Another whose international career should have been more rewarding, the breakout of War stemmed international football during his prime.

3. Raich Carter (Apps: 13 Goals: 7)

By 23, Carter had a First Division title and FA Cup winners medal to his name with Sunderland, whilst being captain of both feats.

Carter found himself dropped from the England team as the partnership between him and Sir Stanley Matthews wasn't functioning as many had hoped. Despite that, both had a great mutual respect for one another - a testament not only to Carter's ability but his team ethic which had been apparent on Wearside for many years.

As a young captain, Carter witnessed the death of his goalkeeper Jimmy Thorpe following that game with Chelsea, and also won a second FA Cup at Derby following the Second World War - becoming the only player to win ‘before and after' Cup winners medals.

2. Dave Watson (Apps: 14)

To this day, the burly centre-half/centre-forward hybrid remains Sunderland's most represented England international. All of his international selections came whilst he was playing outside of the top flight - a testament to his ability. Having made his international debut at the ripe age of 27, he would play his part in one of the greatest FA Cup finals of all-time as Sunderland beat Leeds in 1973 (I'm sure we all know this one by now, but it'll never get old), before deservedly moving to the First Division with Manchester City.

Watson remains the oldest England player to have scored in a qualifying match; against Bulgaria at 33 years and 48 days old.

1. George Holley (Apps: 10 Goals: 8)

Holley's international debut saw him part of a front three that also included team-mate Arthur Bridgett - capping his first game on the international scene with a goal inside 15 minutes against Wales.

After scoring in his first five games for his country, the forward was dropped for the same fixture one year later, but returned to the national side to cement his record as Sunderland's most prolific England international.

Holley finished 1911-12 as the top scorer in the First Division and was instrumental in the club's fifth league title success the following season.

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