Michael Owen recently selected a team made up of the best players he lined up alongside for England. As well as three Blues legends, it also includes a surprising selection up front…
There has been no shortage of headlines written about one of the Three Lions’ greatest goalscorers of late after his feud with former Newcastle United and England team-mate Alan Shearer on Twitter recently, which was sparked by comments Owen made regarding his time at St James’ Park in his autobiography Reboot, which came out last week.
Since then, Owen has sought to make amends by choosing Shearer in an England XI he selected for BBC Sport as part of his book promotion, but of more interest to Chelsea fans are the three former Blues favourites he chose in his team.
In fact, we can increase the Chelsea involvement to four as Owen chose our former player-manager Glenn Hoddle as the gaffer of his side, which he put out in a 3-5-2 formation to mirror what he felt was the best system he played in during his international career, which saw him net 40 times in 80 appearances spread across a decade.
David Seaman got the nod in goal, playing behind a back three which included Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand alongside John Terry, our Captain, Leader, Legend who made every one of his 78 appearances for England while representing the Blues.
After making his England debut in 2003 – a long-awaited first appearance for his country, considering how strongly he began his Chelsea career – it will surprise no one to learn Terry was handed the captain’s armband only three years later.
That was one of Steve McClaren’s first, and it must be said best, decisions of his ill-fated spell in the dugout and it came after JT had put in some typically world-class performances at the 2006 World Cup which earned him a spot in the tournament’s all-star squad.
Although he didn’t lead his country out at a major tournament, our legendary No26 still holds the distinction of scoring the first senior international goal at the new Wembley Stadium, against Brazil in June 2007, and he finished his international career in 2012 with six goals in all.
While David Beckham might be a surprise selection at wing-back, considering he rarely featured there in his illustrious career, Ashley Cole was another gimme pick on the opposite side.
Indeed, only five players have appeared more for England than the man who spent much of the Noughties with a reputation as the finest left-back in the world. Cole is also the only full-back to surpass the 100-cap mark for his country and he wasted little time establishing himself at international level, having made only 11 appearances for Arsenal before Sven Goran Eriksson handed him his first cap.
Over the next 13 years, at five major tournaments, he was one of the first names on the team-sheet and in 2010 he was voted by supporters as England Player of the Year. Of his tally of caps, 55 came while at Chelsea, a total bettered by only two men – both of whom made it into Owen’s team – and just one ahead of Gary Cahill.
While the attack of Shearer and Wayne Rooney might be the most eye-catching selection of his side, the midfield is undoubtedly the classiest. Not only did he plump for Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes, but Owen also added the goal threat of Frank Lampard, who burst onto the international stage at Euro 2004 with a series of performances which marked him out as a world-class performer.
Unfortunately, our all-time leading scorer's international career tends to be summed up by something he didn't do, rather than what he actually achieved – and that's a failure to score at a World Cup. Although had an assistant referee not intervened with a raised flag when England lost to Germany in 2010, that would have been put to bed.
Instead, we’d prefer to focus on the positives, most notably that Euro 2004, when Lamps fired in three goals in four appearances at the tournament in Portugal, netting against France, Croatia and the hosts. He was also named Player of the Year twice and had it not been for Bobby Charlton then he'd also be England's highest scoring midfielder, after netting 29 times in 106 matches. All of those goals were scored and all but two of his caps won while he was a Chelsea player.