Sir Bobby Charlton
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Sir Bobby Charlton may be fairly said to be the most famous English footballer in the world. He epitomises the highest traditions of sportsmanship and integrity. Born 11th October 1937 in Ashington, County Durham, by 19 he had already played in the FA Cup Final. A natural talent, he was a midfield player and striker of great flair and consistency.
Initially a striker, he switched to outside-left with England and finally became a deep-lying centre forward renowned for his powerful shooting. To say that Bobby Charlton could hit a ball is the understatement of the century.
Some of his famous long-range torpedoes have gone down as all time classic goals for both England and United. In the 1966 World Cup he fired in two long range belters that sunk Portugal in the semi-final. While his 106 caps were eventually surpassed his total of 49 goals for England still remains a record to this day and is unlikely ever to be topped.
He played as a forward for Manchester United from 1956 to 1973, having been one of the few survivors of the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. A miner's son, born into a footballing family, he had joined United after winning England Schoolboy Inter- national honours. He was a high scoring and individualistic player, noted for his long swerving runs and deadly accuracy with a football.
His highly developed skills were evidenced in the fact that during his playing career he amassed a then record 106 England caps, and that he was included in the English World Cup winning team in 1966. Also in 1966 he was voted "Footballer of the Year".
By the end of his career, his name had become a byword for sportsmanship the world over. Shortly after this he was appointed manager of Preston North End. In 1994 he was knighted for his services as an ambassador for English football - the first soccer player to receive the honour in 30 years.
In the whole of his professional career, he was never once sent off the field. Twenty years after his last appearance as a United player, "Sir Bobby" is still remembered and reverenced as the supreme sportsman and instinctive footballer.