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FEATURE: Sunderland's Best International XI

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Who are the best full internationals to play for Sunderland?

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As it’s an international break and football fans across the world go into the weekend with no idea of what they’re going to do, I had i thought, who are the best post-war full internationals we’ve had here at Sunderland?

Taking into account what they’ve achieved for Sunderland and their country narrowing it down to 11 names was fairly challenging, see below for the starting XI and some obligatory YouTube clips.

Goalkeeper

Thomas Sørensen

The Dane made 171 appearances for Sunderland and over 100 for his country. Fondly remembered for his time as number 1 under Peter Reid. Plus it gives us another chance to have a look at that penalty save.

Defence

Michael Gray

Born and bred Sunderland, Micky played 363 times for Sunderland, and under Peter Reid he made his England debut against Hungary in April 1999. He went on to play for his country 2 further times both whilst playing for Sunderland.

John O’Shea

The Sunderland and Republic of Ireland captain has played for his country over 100 times and this season made his 100th appearance for Sunderland. The former Manchester United man has 5 league titles, 3 League Cups, 1 FA Cup and a Champions league winners medal to his name and fully deserves a place in the starting XI. Famously, he scored a late equaliser against current World Cup winners Germany on his 100th appearance for his country.

Charlie Hurley

Despite conceding 7 and scoring an own-goal on debut, Charlie went on to play for Sunderland 0ver 400 times over the course of 12 seasons and represent the Republic of Ireland 40 times. ‘The King’ was voted ‘Player of the Century’ by Sunderland fans, so his inclusion is almost mandatory.

Martin Harvey

34 caps for Northern Ireland and 314 for Sunderland in a 13-year stay on Wearside making him the 15th most capped player in the club’s history. Martin Harvey was part of one of the most settled back 5’s in Sunderland’s history. The highly underrated player played for Sunderland for over a decade. A classic full-back who converted to a central defensive role in his later years due to his strong tackling and passing skills combined with his ability to read the game. Strong in the tackle and quality distribution; Martin was a player who wore his heart on his sleeve.

Midfield

Jordan Henderson

After progressing through the academy, Jordan went on to make 71 appearances for the club, scoring 4 goals. Strong performances under Steve Bruce caught the eye of England boss Fabio Capello and against France Henderson started the game alongside now teammate Steven Gerrard. Now the vice club captain of Liverpool, Henderson has gone from strength to strength and  has collected 18 caps for his country but is yet to get himself on the scoresheet

Stefan Schwarz

10 major honours at club level as well as being named Swedish player of the year. Stefan joined Sunderland in 1999 and played 62 times for the club. 69 caps for Sweden saw him play in 2 World Cups and 1 European Championship. An integral part of the Reid side that finished 7th in both the 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 seasons, Schwarz scored 6 goals for the club before retiring in 2003.

Nick Pickering

Originally from South Shields Nick Pickering spent just over four seasons at Sunderland, making a total of 209 appearances and scoring 18 goals including a hat-trick in his penultimate game for the club, against Leeds United. Nick made his England Debut in 1983 under Sir Bobby Robson.

Forwards

Len Shackleton

"I'm not biased when it comes to Newcastle – I don't care who beats them!"

Signed for Sunderland from Newcastle for a then record fee, he went on to represent the lads 348 times and his country 5 times. Adored by Sunderland fans for his entertaining way of playing ‘The Clown Prince’ often wowed fans by playing one-two’s with the corner flag, pretending to comb his hair while looking at his watch and sitting on the ball. ‘Shack’ reached two FA Cup semi-finals and narrowly missed out on a title medal. He scored over 100 times for the lads but only once for his country.

Kevin Phillips

Super Kev, what more do we need to say about the 5ft 7 striker, 113 goals in 208 appearances including the european golden boot, SKP will go down as one of the best buys in Sunderland history costing just £325,000. He played just 8 times for his country without hitting the net. Given precious little time or opportunities to impress in an England shirt, most of Kevin’s appearances came from the bench. He was included in Keegan’s Euro 2000 squad which saw England crash out at the group stage without Super Kev making an appearance.

Niall Quinn

Almost 100 caps for the Republic of Ireland. scoring 21 goals which saw him become the ROI all time leading goal scorer, only bettered by Robbie Keane in 2004. Over 200 appearances for Sunderland saw him score 61 goals and become a real club legend. One thing is for sure, without Mr Quinn who know’s where the club would be.

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