Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

Best English Forwards of All Time

Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, and more! This article is about the best English forwards of all time.

A good top-ten awaits you. We’ve compiled a list consisting of some of the finest forwards ever in English football. This will be a journey into a long and rich history.

Join us on this journey. Let’s remember some great footballers. Who is the best English forward of all time?

Best English Forwards

Best English Forwards of All Time
Credit: Getty Images

The lists of the best are usually top-ten, and we’ve been sticking to that rule here. So if a great player is missing from our list, it’s only because of that. Ten is a small number.

This compilation includes all kinds of forwards, including strikers, second strikers, wingers, and so on. You will develop your knowledge of English football by reading this article to the end. We appreciate your company.

So, let’s begin.

Honorable Mention

  • Dixie Dean
  • Roger Hunt
  • Tom Finney
  • Nat Lofthouse
  • Steve Bloomer

Geoff Hurst

Best English Forwards
Credit: Getty Images

Wembley Final’s hero. THE Wembley Final. The man who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final.

Geoff Hurst started his career at West Ham in 1958 and played for the Hammers for 14 years. With a total of 252 goals scored for the club, Hurst is the second-highest goalscorer in West Ham’s history. He helped the Hammers win the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the ’60s. Geoff Hurst is widely regarded as one of the best English forwards of all time.

Apart from his remarkable career at West Ham, everyone knows Hurst for his brilliance in the 1966 World Cup, most notably in the final match against West Germany. The match that made his name eternal.

Hurst scored the only England’s goal in the quarter-final match against Argentina. In the final against West Germany, he scored one of his side’s two goals in normal time. Hurst scored two more in extra time to complete his historic hat-trick, bringing the trophy for his country.

He remained the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final for many years until Kylian Mbappe joined the legend in 2022.

Andy Cole

Best English Forwards
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Andrew Alexander Cole, commonly known as Andy Cole, is the fourth top scorer in Premier League history. A clinical striker, Cole played for seven different clubs in the Premier League, scoring 187 goals in 414 appearances.

In his debut season in the competition, Andy Cole scored 34 goals for Newcastle and became the Premier League’s top scorer. Apart from this brilliant season with the Magpies, Cole is mostly remembered for his time at Manchester United. The English striker played 275 matches for the Red Devils in all competitions and scored 121 goals. He won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and one Champions League title with Manchester United.

Unlike his remarkable career in the Premier League, Andy Cole was not that successful at the international level. He made just 15 caps for the England national team and scored only one goal.

Michael Owen

Greatest English Forwards of All Time
Credit: Getty Images

Michael Owen is one of only four English players to win the Ballon d’Or. And the last English man to win the award, of course. Owen is one of the best English forwards of all time.

Michael Owen made his senior debut at Liverpool in 1996. He played for the Reds until 2004 and recorded 297 appearances for the club, scoring 158 goals. During his tenure at Liverpool, Owen won two Premier League Golden Boots. He was named the Premier League Player of the Season in the 1997-98 campaign. He was 19 back then.

Michael Owen won six trophies with Liverpool. His most memorable match for the Reds was the 2001 FA Cup Final. Owen scored two late goals against Arsenal in this final. The English striker won the Ballon d’Or that year.

Michael Owen was transferred to Real Madrid in the summer of 2004, joining the Galacticos team. After an unsuccessful season at Madrid, he returned to the Premier League and played for Newcastle, Manchester United, and Stoke City until the end of his career. With 150 goals scored in 326 Premier League appearances, Owen is one of the most prolific strikers in the competition’s history.

At the international level, Michael Owen played 89 games for the England national team and scored 40 goals. Owen is his country’s sixth all-time top scorer. He won the tournament’s Best Young Player award in the 1998 World Cup. His goal against Argentina in this tournament is considered one of the best goals in World Cup history.

Wayne Rooney

Best English Forwards
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Manchester United’s all-time top scorer! This is no small feat. Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly one of the best English forwards of all time.

Wayne Rooney started his career at Everton in 2002. After two seasons with the Toffees, he joined Manchester United on a transfer worth 25 million pounds. The rest is history.

Wayne Rooney played thirteen seasons for United. In his 559 appearances for the Red Devils, Rooney scored 253 goals and provided 145 assists. He broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s record and became Manchester United’s all-time top scorer. With a tally of 208, Rooney is the third top scorer in Premier League history. With a tally of 103, he is also the third top assist provider in the competition’s history. Rooney is one of the best forwards in Premier League of all time.

Wayne Rooney won sixteen major trophies with the Red Devils, including five Premier League titles and one Champions League title. At the international level, he played 120 matches for his country and scored 53 goals. Rooney is the second most-capped player and the second top scorer for the England national team.

Gary Lineker

Best English Forwards
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Gary Lineker is the only player who has become the English league’s top scorer with three different clubs. Lineker played for Leicester City, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Barcelona during his career. He had a remarkable goalscoring record in all four clubs. He is considered one of the best English forwards of all time.

Winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup with Barcelona and winning the FA Cup with Spurs are Gary Lineker’s most important honors as a football player. Lineker was named FWA Footballer of the Year on two occasions.

The 1986 World Cup was the highlight of Gary Lineker’s career. Lineker scored six goals in the tournament, winning the World Cup Golden Boot ahead of Diego Maradona. Lineker came second in the final ranking of the 1986 Ballon d’Or.

In his 80 international caps, Gary Lineker scored 48 goals for the Three Lions. He is the country’s fourth all-time top scorer. Lineker is considered one of the England national team best forwards of all time.

Harry Kane

Best English Forwards
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Harry Kane is the England’s leading goalscorer. The 30-year-old striker already has scored 62 goals for the Three Lions, more than any other player. He is one of the best players of his generation and one of the best English forwards of all time.

With 280 goals scored in 435 appearances, Kane is the all-time top scorer for Tottenham Hotspur. With 213 goals in 320 Premier League matches, he is the second-top scorer in the competition’s history. Harry Kane won the Premier League Golden Boot on three occasions. He was picked for the Premier League Team of the Year on six occasions. Kane holds the record for the most goals scored for a single club in Premier League history. Spurs fans will miss him.

The English striker joined Bayern Munich in the summer of 2023. The Bavarians paid Tottenham €100 million to sign Kane, making him the most expensive player in Bundesliga history. Harry Kane already has scored 22 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances this season. He is the leading man in the race for the European Golden Shoe this season.

As one of the current best forwards of England national team, Harry Kane has played 89 matches for the Three Lions so far, scoring 62 goals and assisting 19 more.

Alan Shearer

Best English Forwards
Credit: Getty Images

Let’s talk about Alan Shearer’s legendary record: 260 Premier League goals! The all-time top scorer in the competition, indeed!

Shearer played for three clubs during his career: Southampton, Blackburn, and Newcastle. He spent his entire career in the English top flight, scoring hundreds of goals for his side. He is regarded as the best English ST in Premier League history.

After scoring 112 goals in 138 Premier League matches for Blackburn, Alan Shearer joined Newcastle on a record-breaking transfer. The Magpies paid £15m to sign the English striker, making him the most expensive player in football history at the time.

Alan Shearer played for Newcastle from 1996 to 2006 and became the club’s all-time top scorer. Shearer won three Premier League Golden Boots during his career. He made it to the PFA Team of the Year on seven occasions. He won the Premier League title with Blackburn in the 1994-95 season, scoring 34 goals and providing 13 assists for his team during the campaign.

At the international level, Alan Shearer made 63 caps for the England national team and scored 30 goals. He won the UEFA Euro 96 Golden Boot.

As one of the best English forwards of all time, Shearer scored +400 goals during his illustrious career.

Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves
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Jimmy Greaves is the all-time top scorer in the English top flight. As one of the greatest strikers ever and one of the best English forwards of all time, Greaves scored over 500 goals during his career.

Jimmy Greaves became the top scorer of the First Division twice with Chelsea and four times with Tottenham Hotspur. His 357 goals in 516 appearances remain a record in the English top flight. His six golden boots are also a record in the competition’s history. Greaves scored 20+ goals in eleven different English league campaigns. It’s unbelievable!

At the international level, Jimmy Greaves scored 44 goals in 57 appearances for the England national team. He is the country’s fifth all-time top scorer and has the best ratio among the top five. Greaves was part of the 1966 World Cup champion squad.

Many consider Jimmy Greaves as the best English ST of all time.

Stanley Matthews

Stanley Matthews
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One of the greatest wingers ever and one of the greatest English forwards of all time. Sir Stanley Matthews remains an icon in English football.

Matthews had a long career spanning 33 years. He played his last game at the age of 50. Matthews played for Stoke City for 19 years and for Blackpool for 14 years. He is regarded as the greatest legend for both clubs.

Stanley Matthews had great technique and outstanding dribbling skills. His nicknames, “The Wizard of the Dribble” and “The Magician” tell you a lot. He is also considered one of the best crossers of all time.

The highlight of Stanley Matthews’ career was the 1953 FA Cup Final, known as the Matthews Final. The legend inspired his team to come from 3-1 down against Bolton to win 4-3. It’s Blackpool’s only major trophy in its entire history.

Stanley Matthews played 54 games for his country at the international level and scored 11 goals. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1956, ahead of Alfredo Di Stefano.

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan
Credit: Getty Images

Kevin Keegan is among the few players who won multiple Ballons d’Or. Keegan was one of the best players of his generation as well as one of the best forwards of all time.

Kevin Keegan was a Liverpool player from 1971 to 1977. In his six seasons with the club, he won three league titles, an FA Cup, two UEFA Cups, and a European Cup. He was a crucial member of this Liverpool side. With his amazing technique and special dribbling skills, he was a nightmare for any defender.

Keegan then went to Germany and played three seasons for Hamburg. He helped Hamburg win the Bundesliga title after two decades. During his three years in Germany, Kevin Keegan won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions. He led Hamburg to its first European Cup final in his last season at the club. They lost to Nottingham Forest in the final and became runners-up.

Kevin Keegan then returned to England and played for Southampton and Newcastle for the rest of his career. He was one of the greatest footballers of all time when he retired.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is the best English forward of all time?
  2. How many goals did Alan Shearer score in the Premier League?
  3. Did Kevin Keegan win the Ballon d’Or?
  4. How many goals did Harry Kane score for Tottenham Hotspur?
  5. What is Jimmy Greaves’ goal record?


The best English forwards of all time have left an indelible mark on the beautiful game. From Geoff Hurst’s iconic hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final to Wayne Rooney becoming Manchester United’s all-time top scorer, these players have showcased their incredible talent and passion for the sport.

Whether it’s the goal-scoring prowess of Alan Shearer or the dazzling skills of Stanley Matthews, each forward on this list has contributed to the rich history of English football. Their achievements and records speak for themselves.

As we celebrate their contributions, let’s not forget the honorable mentions and other great forwards who have graced the English game. The legacy of these players will continue to inspire future generations to reach new heights on the football pitch.

So, who is the best English forward of all time? That’s a question that will continue to spark debate among football fans. But one thing is for sure, the English game has been blessed with some truly extraordinary talents throughout history.

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  • Best Strikers of All Time
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  • Best Players of the 1960s
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