Ian Callaghan - England - Biography 1966-77

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 01 January 1977

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      Outside Right
      Friday, 10 April 1942
      Liverpool, England
  • England
  • Liverpool FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
    • Club Career
      637 League apps (+3 as sub), 50 goals
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Ian CALLAGHAN - England - Biography 1966-77

Ian Callaghan, whose appearances record at Liverpool will never be broken (he is pictured above in action for his hometown club), couldn't boast similarly bountiful traits internationally, with his fourth and final cap coming more than a decade after his first two. A victim of Alf Ramsey's desire for the notorious 'wingless wonders' formation, Callaghan debuted in the warm-up period to the 1966 World Cup, having just won his second League championship with Liverpool, and showed his class as a wideman who could provide regular and dangerous service to his strikers. Ramsey's mistrust of wingers boiled down to their ruination of a fluid midfield and lesser defensive value, although Callaghan made the final squad and even played in the third and final group game against France once the tournament was underway.


He was not called up for the rest of the tournament as England won without naturalised width, and Ramsey never looked at him again. Joe Mercer and Don Revie also felt no need for him as his standards remained as increasive as his age, and therefore it was a wild decision by Ron Greenwood for his first game in charge in September 1977 when, having seen Liverpool win the European Cup, he included Callaghan in a very Anfield-centric line-up against Switzerland at Wembley, which ended 0-0. A month later, Callaghan played in the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Luxembourg but his 35 years, plus the emergence of the superb Steve Coppell, put unsurprising paid to an England career which was as eccentric as his club career was extraordinary. (Matthew Rudd)