One hundred players of black heritage have represented the England national football team at international level.
The landmark was reached on Thursday night when three players of black heritage debuted for England and was discovered during Sky Sports’ production of a special feature on the story of England’s black footballers to mark Black History Month.
Three players of black heritage – Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bukayo Saka of Arsenal and Chelsea’s Reece James – debuted for England in the friendly against Wales on Thursday with James’ second-half introduction from the bench making him the 100th player of black heritage to play for England, just over 40 years since the first.
Reporting on the landmark, Sky Sports’ Jaydee Dyer summarised: “It is incredible to reflect on the strides which have taken place in English football. To have both a senior men’s centurion and 100 different players of black heritage represent the nation is an undoubted sign of progression. As always the challenge for English football is to continue to create new history.”
Black footballers and England: The landmark moments
- The 936th player to represent England, Viv Anderson was the first black player to be capped in November 1978.
- In December 1982, Luther Blissett scored a hat-trick against Luxembourg to become the first black player to score for England – and the first to score a hat-trick.
- England’s seventh black player, John Barnes became the first black player to feature for England at a World Cup in 1986.
- In June 1993, Paul Ince was the first black player appointed to captain England.
- In 2013, Ashley Cole became the first black player to represent England on 100 occasions.
Kick It Out launches Take A Stand campaign
Take A Stand is a new campaign from Kick It Out that is encouraging people across the football community to take action against racism and other forms of discrimination by publicly pledging to be part of positive change.
Reports of discrimination rose by 42 per cent last season, and the charity fears that the continuation of football being played behind closed doors will only lead to another rise in online abuse suffered by players as fans watch games from home.
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