Whites at The World Cup
28 Jun 2014 04:22pm, by YorkshireSquare
Sadly none of the current crop of Elland Road players have boarded a plane to Rio this summer but that doesn’t mean Leeds United don’t have an illustrious past when it comes to providing some of the biggest international stars. Let’s take a moment to reminisce and look at some Leeds legends who’ve represented their country at a World Cup.
One of Leeds’ finest, Jackie Charlton has done what thousands of footballers haven’t, what millions of fans can only dream of – win the World Cup. The central defender lifted the Jules Rimet in 1966 with the rest of that heroic Three Lions squad.
As well as his 35 caps for England, Charlton’s name appeared on the Leeds United team-sheet a record 773 times before he hung up his boots and entered management, guiding the Republic of Ireland to their best ever performance at a World Cup at Italia 90.
After 11 wonderful years at Elland Road Lucas Radebe will always be adored by the Leeds faithful.
Described as his ‘hero’ by none other than the late Nelson Mandela, the South African captained his country in their first major international tournament, the 1998 World Cup. 4 years later he once again led them at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea where they narrowly missed out on a place in the second round.
Thrust into the 1994 World Cup as a 19-year-old, Gary Kelly became the only player outside of Don Revie’s stewardship to make over 500 appearances for Leeds after making his first team debut in 1992.
Two years later he starred in the USA World Cup as part of the Republic of Ireland squad that infamously beat Italy on their way to the Second Round.
Eight years later Kelly featured once more for the Irish during their controversial 2002 World Cup campaign which saw Roy Keane abruptly depart after a bust up with Mick McCarthy. However, despite the Keane fiasco, the green and gold army once again impressed, flying through their group before losing a penalty shootout to Spain in the knockout stages.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
One of the hardest strikers of a football you will ever have witnessed- and just as lethal with his finishing- the Dutchman scored 34 in just 69 games for Leeds which earned him a call up for France 1998.
The Dutch have always boasted an embarrassment of attacking riches, and it’s no different this time round which is why most Netherlands World Cup betting tips suggest they are one of the favourites to win their first World Cup in Brazil.
That never stopped Jimmy from securing a starting place for Holland’s opening group game in 1998 though, despite competition from none other than Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert and Pierre van Hooijdonk.
United’s greatest of all time, and a Scottish legend to match, Billy Bremner needs no introduction. King Bremner captained his nation during the 1974 tournament with a squad that also included Lorimer, Dalglish, Jordan, McQueen and Denis Law; although they narrowly missed out on progressing through the Group Stage.
During his international career the Number 4 earned 54 caps to go alongside the 772 appearances he made in the famous Leeds shirt.
With the takeover now complete - and despite the appointment of Hockaday - let’s hope we can get back to the big time and produce many more stars for World Cups to come.