A Proud Lion
Chapter 4 International Hero
From the moment Steven took to the field, aged 20, against Ukraine in a friendly on May 31 2000 for his England debut, it was clear he would go on to become one of the most iconic figures the national team had ever produced.
He was a central figure in what became known as the “Golden Generation” of English talent, alongside David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen and Frank Lampard.
His England career saw him make 21 major tournament appearances in three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014) and three European Championships (2000, 2004 and 2012).
His 114 caps mean only Beckham and Peter Shilton stand before him in the country’s all-time appearance list.
Steven captained England on 38 occasions under four different managers; Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson. Hodgson made him the full-time captain of his country, just ahead of the 2012 European Championships.
Steven was an important and regular goal-scorer for England. His 21 goals put him 7th on the all-time list.
"He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer. 114 caps is a mark of his wonderful talent, allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard."
"Steven is one of the best players you can find. He has everything. As long as I was England manager, he was extremely important to me."