This years World Cup in Russia will mark the first time in my lifetime that a Bolton Wanderers player won’t be present. For six consecutive tournaments prior to Russia, there has been at least one Wanderer gracing the international stage.
Sadly that twenty year trend has come to an end.
In total, there have been fifteen Bolton players representing their country whilst playing at Burnden Park/The Reebok. I thought i’d take a look back at the history of Wanderers at the World Cup by creating a best XI.
So here it is:
Eddie Hopkinson (1958)
Legendary Wanderers goalkeeper Eddie Hopkinson was a member of England’s 1958 World Cup squad in Sweden. Unfortunately Hopkinson didn’t make an appearance, as England failed to get out of the group stage after a 1-0 play-off defeat to the USSR.
Tommy Banks (1958)
Full back Tommy Banks started all four games for England at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but couldn’t help the Three Lions progress further than the group stages.
Radhi Jaidi (2006)
The towering Tunisian Radhi Jaidi started in all three group games in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Jaidi scored a dramatic late equaliser against Saudi Arabia, but couldn’t prevent Tunisia from losing against Spain and Ukraine.
Mark Fish (1998)
After suffering relegation from the Premier League with Wanderers, South African defender Mark Fish played in all three group games. Bafana Bafana lost to France, but managed respectable draws against Denmark and Saudi Arabia.
Per Frandsen (1998)
Wanderers’ Great Dane played alongside future Wanderer Stig Tofting at the 1998 World Cup in France. Denmark had a great tournament, making it to the quarter-finals where they were knocked out by Brazil. Frandsen made two substitute appearances.
Jason McAteer (1994)
Midfielder Jason McAteer played in all four of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup games in the USA, including the famous 1-0 win against Italy. ROI were knocked out by The Netherlands in the last 16.
Stuart Holden (2010)
Stuart Holden’s one and only appearance at a World Cup came in 2010 in South Africa. The USA lost in the last 16 to Ghana, but Holden only played briefly in the 1-1 draw against England in their opening game of the tournament.
Lee Chung-Yong (2010 & 2014)
Chungy holds the honour of being the only Wanderers player to appear at multiple tournaments whilst on Bolton’s books. The South Korean winger’s best tournament was South Africa 2010. Chungy scored twice in four games as South Korea lost to Uruguay in the last 16. In 2014, Chungy started in all three games as South Korea finished bottom of Group H with just one measly point.
Hidetoshi Nakata (2006)
After a year on loan at The Reebok Stadium, midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata played three times for Japan at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Japan finished bottom of their group, with a draw against Croatia and defeats to Brazil and Australia.
Youri Djorkaeff (2002)
World Cup & European Championship winner Youri Djorkaeff played at the 2002 World Cup in Asia whilst with Wanderers. After helping Bolton stay in the Premier League, Le God was part of a French side which collapsed. Djorkaeff played twice as France failed to progress past the group stage.
Nat Lofthouse (1954)
Bolton’s greatest player was in the England squad for the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. The Lion of Vienna scored three times (including a great diving header in a 4-4 draw against Belgium) as England made it to the Quarter-Finals, losing 4-2 against Uruguay.
Notable mentions go to Jared Borgetti & Stig Tofting, who narrowly missed out on places in the XI.
Agree with my picks for the best Wanderers World Cup XI? Let me know in the comments box below.