Tim Flowers' career had been a slowburner, dedicated as he was to the safety and respect which surrounded Southampton in the 1990s even though such secure footballing traditions rarely brought international honours to its England players. It was after a particularly good season between the sticks in 1993 that Graham Taylor decided to take Flowers on the scheduled summer tour of the USA, and he debuted earlier than expected after the recogised incumbent, Chris Woods, was dumped from the side, never to return, when the host nation memorably and embarrassingly over powered England 2-0.
Flowers' first start came dauntingly against Brazil in Washington but he held firm as England drew 1-1, but the third keeper in the party, Nigel Martyn, got the shirt for the last game - hardly a surprise, given that no coach would take three goalkeepers halfway round the world for a friendly tournament and not give them all a go - and Flowers found himself installed as a squad regular with few hopes of actually getting in the team. David Seaman, who missed the tour, was unsurprisingly given the role of England's No.1 as Woods was phased out and Flowers dutifully turned up to every training session and airport departure lounge for years afterwards but only ten more appearances - none more competitive than the 1995 Umbro Trophy and the 1997 Tournoi de France - would come his way.
By now a Blackburn player, he made the squads for the 1996 European Championships and the 1998 World Cup as Seaman's back-up but by the time he joined the party to go to France for the latter, he'd already featured on the pitch in England colours for the last time. (Matthew Rudd)