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Who is the greatest England attacking midfielder of all time?

Paul Gascoigne scores England's second goal against Scotland in Euro 1996 as Colin Hendry can only look on. Photo: Neil Munns / PA

Paul Gascoigne scores England's second goal against Scotland in Euro 1996 as Colin Hendry can only look on. Photo: Neil Munns / PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Which one of these four players is England’s greatest attacking midfielder of all time?

Trevor Brooking (1974-1982)

Brooking played 47 times for England, scoring five times, but only appeared twice in major tournaments - at Euro 1980 World Cup 1982. Brooking was known for his controlled passing and midfield authority.

Paul Gascoigne (1988-1998)

Gascoigne was part of the England squad that reached fourth place in the 1990 World Cup. He also helped the team to the semi-finals of Euro 1996, scoring a goal against Scotland which was described as one of the best of the tournament. Gascoigne helped England to win the Tournoi de France in 1997 ahead of Brazil, France and Italy. Qualification for the 1998 World Cup went down to the last group game against Italy, and Gascoigne put in a disciplined and mature performance to help England secure the 0–0 draw that was enough to take them through but manager Glenn Hoddle elected not to pick Gascoigne in the final squad. Gascoigne was never to play for his country again, having won 57 caps and scored 10 goals.

David Platt (1989-1996)

Platt became England’s most consistent performer of the early 1990s, scoring goals with frequency from midfield and proving an inspirational leader. He was captain for much of this period, though Tony Adams also skippered the side. A tireless runner and tidy passer, his tactic involved running from deep midfield positions, arriving late into the penalty area, to pick up upon a pass. It made him difficult to pick up by defenders. At the 1990 World Cup, Platt increased his reputation by scoring goals with both head and feet, whilst displaying good technique, passing abilities, and high work rates. Platt also played in Euro 92 and 96. Despite his efforts, England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Finishing on 62 caps and 27 goals Platt was the second-highest scoring midfielder in the history of the national team. Only Bobby Charlton scored more, and he played as a centre forward, as well as an attacking midfielder. Platt’s goal tally has since been surpassed by Frank Lampard.

Paul Scholes (1997-2004)

Scholes gained 66 caps and scored 14 goals for England. He participated in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the Euro 2000 and Euro 2004 tournaments. Scholes was highly regarded for his technical skills, renowned for his accurate passing, intelligent movement and powerful shooting from long range. Scholes was renowned for his late attacking runs and ability to combine with teammates as well an excellent capacity to read the game and control the tempo of play. Regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, over his career, he has received praise from other managers and players. Barcelona midfielder Xavi rated Scholes as the best player in his position in the past two decades, stating, “A role model. For me, and I really mean this, he’s the best central midfielder I’ve seen in the last 15, 20 years. He’s spectacular, he has it all, the last pass, goals, he’s strong, he doesn’t lose the ball, vision. If he’d been Spanish he might have been rated more highly. Players love him.”

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