Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Bryan Robson (16)

Goal.com are counting down England's greatest players of all time and at number 16 is Manchester United’s ‘Captain Marvel’...
No.50 - John Terry
No.49 - Tony Currie
No.48 - Terry Butcher
No.47 - Gerry Hitchens
No.46 - Paul Ince
No.45 - George Camsell
No.44 - Wayne Rooney
No.43 - Jackie Milburn
No.42 - Roger Hunt
No.41 - Rio Ferdinand
No.40 - Wilf Mannion

No.39 - Frank Lampard
No.38 - John Barnes
No.37 - Nat Lofthouse
No.36 - Eddie Hapgood
No.35 - Chris Waddle
No.34 - David Platt
No.33 - Phil Neal
No.32 - Johnny Haynes
No.31 - Peter Beardsley
No.30 - Ray Clemence
No.29 - Ted Drake
No.28 - Michael Owen
No.27 - Raich Carter
No.26 - Colin Bell
No.25 – Frank Swift
No.24 - Paul Scholes
No.23 - Tony Adams
No.22 - Martin Peters
No.21 - Billy Wright
No.20 - Geoff Hurst
No.19 - Cliff Bastin

No.18 - Steven Gerrard

No.17 - Glenn Hoddle





90 caps, 26 goals


West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United, Middlesbrough

An inspirational captain for both Manchester United and England, Bryan Robson was an outstanding midfielder and a truly remarkable competitor.

Nicknamed ‘Captain Marvel’ for his ability to drag his team to a result almost single-handedly, Robson’s bravery on the pitch was unrivalled but often led him to injury, which unfortunately became a major feature of his career.

He began his career at West Bromwich Albion, where a catalogue of injuries and a lack of physical presence threatened to prevent his career from getting off the ground.

However, the youngster proved to be a tougher customer than many believed and recovered, bulked himself up and with his trademark determination quickly established himself as a priceless part of the Albion team.


"After 20 years of a United in decline, he was the first part of Fergie's new team that dominated the 90's, into his late 30's. Captain Marvel, a truly great player, immaculate shooting, dribbling and passing." Neli G | London

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He managed 39 goals in almost 200 appearances for the Baggies and his impressive displays persuaded Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson to break the then British record transfer free and bring Robson to Old Trafford.

Whilst many questioned Atkinson’s wisdom at the time, his star signing quickly proved the doubters wrong and he went on to make the famous United No. 7 shirt his own.

Robson’s dashing runs into the box, eye for goal, superb tackling and never-say-die attitude thrilled the Old Trafford crowd and quickly saw him handed the captain’s armband.

The midfielder then led the Red Devils to a hat-trick of FA Cups triumphs in typical style, scoring in two of the finals, and becoming the first Manchester United captain to lift the famous trophy three times in the process.

Yet it was not just on the domestic scene where Robson was playing a major role, as he became a star performer for England and delivered a decade of service to the Three Lions.

The United man won 90 caps for England, although he surely would have passed the 100 caps mark but for injury, and played in three World Cups.

Namesake Bobby Robson made him the captain of his country and he was a major presence in the team scoring 26 times, including a goal after just 27 seconds in the 1982 World Cup against France and a hat-trick against Turkey in 1984.


United's first Prem title
Yet even ‘Captain Marvel’ was not enough to drag England to success and despite helping England to the semi-finals in Italia 90, it was the closest he was come to glory on the international scene.

Back on the club front, Robson went on to add yet another FA Cup win and a Cup Winners’ Cup medal to his trophy cabinet, yet cup success was not enough for the midfield dynamo who longed to help the Old Trafford outfit end their long wait for the league title.

With his career winding down, as injuries began to take their toll and the arrival of players such as Eric Cantona saw his first-team opportunities limited, Robson did finally manage to get his hands on the trophy he so desired in 1993.

Although he was far from a regular in the side, Robson delivered when called upon and even scored on the last day of the season as United finally ended their 26-year wait for the league title. 

In the following season, and Robson’s last with the club, he was to go one better, watching on and playing a small role, as United claimed a Premier League and FA Cup double - a fitting end to his career for one of the club’s greatest servants.

The former England skipper then went on to enjoy two-seasons as a player-manager at Middlesbrough before finally hanging up his boots and going into management.


Premier League: 1992-93, 1993-94
FA Cup: 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994
League Cup: 1992
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1991
DID YOU KNOW ... At the start of his career Robson broke his leg three times in 12 months whilst at West Brom?

Gill Clark, Goal.com

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