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Who is England's Greatest Ever Goalscorer?

The debate has hit fever pitch after Wayne Rooney broke Sir Bobby Charlton's recored against Switzerland, but who is in actual fact England's greatest goalscorer?

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

There are a lot of potential answers to this particular question. Wayne Rooney has scored the most so surely he is? But then Vivian Woodward has the highest goal to game ratio at 1.26 goals a game so surely he is? Both of those forget that Sir Geoff Hurst remains the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final so surely it's him?

This debate reminds me of so many others in world football. Who is the best player ever Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Maybe it's Pelé or Diego Maradona? Though they can be compared, they are completely different types of players therefore doing so is futile.

It is similar with the question of England's greatest goalscorer. They were different types of players playing in different eras so how can they be compared?

My favourite solution to the best player ever question is this. Fernando Torres is the only player to have held the World Cup, European Championships, Champions League and Europa League at the same time. Therefore he is the greatest player ever. Paul Scholes also once confused a reporter by saying that an Oldham Athletic player was the best player in the world based on some random achievement Messi could never have achieved and therefore had not.

As a Bolton Wanderers fan though there can be only one answer to the question of who is England's greatest ever goalscorer and that, of course. is Sir Nat Lofthouse. The Lion of Vienna played 33 times for England scoring 30 times. That is a goal to game ratio of 0.9 and places him joint sixth on the list along with Tom Finney and Alan Shearer.

Now so far my only basis for the belief that Lofthouse is England's greatest ever goalscorer is that I am a Bolton fan. For me that is plenty enough, but I imagine some of you want better reasoning than that!

Woodward is mentioned above having scored 1.26 goals per game. That is very impressive, but it was also a very different era. Woodward managed that between 1903 and 1911 when as a general rule more goals were scored in matches (I think at least but I am sticking with that logic anyway). There are a couple of other players with better goal to game ratios than Lofthouse, including Steve Bloomer with 1.21, but he played between 1895 and 1907 when again more goals were scored.

The other two players with better goal to game ratios than Lofthouse were Tommy Lawton with 0.96 and Stan Mortensen with 0.92. Lawton played between 1938 and 1948 with Mortensen playing between 1947 and 1953. This means they played in similar eras to Lofthouse so the argument used above to discount them doesn't really apply. But Lawton only played 22 England games and Mortensen 23 which was less than Lofthouse. With their records not being too dissimilar I would argue that the player who played most games should be seen as the greater goalscorer.

Now another player with a very good claim to this title is the aforementioned Sir Geoff Hurst. But although Hurst had a very respectable goal to game ratio at 0.49, it is not as good as Lofthouse's.

This for me is the key statistic as some players are able to play more games for England and be part of a team capable of winning the World Cup, but others are not so lucky. So I believe that the World Cup final hat-trick should be overlooked for these purposes (although it certainly cements Sir Geoff as one of England's greatest ever players and one of the World Cup greats.)

Wayne Rooney is the other player mentioned above who has an exceptional claim to be England's greatest goalscorer. I believe that Rooney as a player is overrated, but this is only because he is rated so highly. He is without a doubt one of the best players this country has ever produced and thoroughly deserves to be the record holder having preformed at a high level for so many years.

But I do not think he is England's greatest ever. His goal to game ratio is very respectable at 0.47 per game. He has scored some important goals for England, not as many as people would have liked but he still has. But like with Sir Geoff, I am going to rule Rooney out on the basis that his goal to game ratio is worse than Lofthouse's.

Maybe in a few years time when Rooney hangs up his boots I will change my mind. Maybe he can score a hat-trick in the 4-0 win against Germany in the final of next years Euros, which Wikipedia says will happen?

But right now I don't think he is England's greatest.

This obviously does not cover a number of other player who could claim this title, the likes of Gary Lineker and Sir Bobby Charlton also have very good claims to be England's greatest, but based on my impeccable and indisputable logic:

Nat Lofthouse is England's greatest ever goalscorer.

And you're just gonna have to accept it.