Chris WADDLE

Chris Waddle - England - Biography (Part 1) 1985

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 22 May 1985

Click on image to enlarge

    • POSITION
      Winger
    • DATE OF BIRTH
      Wednesday, 14 December 1960
    • PLACE OF BIRTH
      Hepworth, England.
  • INTERNATIONAL
  • England
  • CLUBS
  • Newcastle United
    • Club Career Dates
      1980-1985
    • League Debut
      Wednesday, 22nd October 1980 in a 1-0 win at home to Shrewsbury Town (Aged: 19)
    • Club Career
      169 League apps (+1 as sub), 46 goals
  • Sheffield Wednesday
    • Club Career Dates
      1992-1996
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 15th August 1992 in a 1-1 draw at Everton (Aged: 31)
    • Club Career
      94 League apps (+15 as sub), 10 goals
  • Sunderland FC
    • Club Career Dates
      1997
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 22nd March 1997 in a 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest (Aged: 36)
    • Club Career
      7 League apps, 1 goal
  • Tottenham Hotspur
    • Club Career Dates
      1985-1989
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 17th August 1985 scoring twice in a 4-0 win over Watford (Aged: 24)
    • Club Career
      137 League apps (+1 as sub), 33 goals
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Chris WADDLE - England - Biography (Part 1) 1985

It's arguable whether any footballer's virtues have divided England supporters in the way Chris Waddle's initially did. A sublime footballer with exquisite touch and a fantastic ability to beat players, Waddle's initial problem was winning over the fans when he had his coach eating out of his palm. Like those of his contemporary John Barnes, the skills of Waddle were often countered by a belief that he looked laconic and lacked interest, and that he drifted out of games too often. Yet when he felt like it, there were few more exciting players in the world when the ball was at his shuffling feet and he was in the mood to do something with it. Waddle's footballing education came relatively late at Newcastle United, where his holy trinity with the equally fleet-footed Peter Beardsley and the iconic Kevin Keegan helped the Magpies back into the top flight. Bobby Robson couldn't resist Waddle, for all his individualism which went against the grain of an international policy based on teamwork. The basic fact was that Chris was blessed with a level of skill which came along so infrequently that it needed to be tried, if only to kill off thoughts of negativity in the England regime. Waddle, with his lolloping style and madly uncropped hair, debuted for his country in March 1985 on the left side of midfield as England defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-1. Barnes was also in the picture for that position and quickly England had established a rivalry between two naturally gifted newcomers, while purists debated whether it would be possible to accommodate both. Waddle gave a hint towards an answer when he came on for the right-sided Trevor Steven in a qualifier for the 1986 World Cup against Finland (the photo above is during the game) and developed a lop-sided action which lent regularly to a habit of cutting in from the right flank to use his left foot. Predictable it was, except that the full back couldn't work out exactly when Waddle would do it. Such a tactic was worth pursuing, but Steven was the first choice right midfielder and Chris had to wait. He started two of the three tour games in Mexico in the summer of 1985 on the left, coming on as a direct replacement for Barnes in the other, but then sealed a big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur afterwards, who put him on the right flank and told him to create. Suddenly, he had an air of versatility about him which made his England chances grow, and Robson started to prefer him to Barnes more regularly on the left. Waddle scored his first England goal in a 5-0 qualifying win over Turkey in October 1985, collecting the ball from his own penalty area and, apart from a fortuitous one-two with Ray Wilkins near the halfway line, keeping it to slide past a number of players before putting a right-footed shot beyond the Turkish goalkeeper at his near post. Although the defenders were of a limited standard and the keeper probably should have kept it out, it was still a fine goal, showcasing Waddle's real talent for taking on a team single-handedly. If he could do it against the better teams, in pressure situations, then England had a real find. The Turkey game ensured England would be returning to Mexico for the World Cup, and Chris set about keeping his place on the left for the finals. (Matthew Rudd)