Sir Bobby Charlton’s England exploits will be celebrated at Wembley following his death last month at the age of 86. The 1966 World Cup winner’s image will be mapped out in a crowd mosaic before kick-off when his services to England will be honoured with a minute’s applause.
England players will also wear black armbands as a mark of respect to a player who scored 49 times in 105 internationals – always an exemplary servant to the game.
“A big part of what we’ve wanted to do with our players is to talk about our identity as a team,” manager Gareth Southgate said.
“Part of that is knowing the history of our team and having an understanding of how special some of the players that have been England internationals before are.
“We’ve had the chance to do that this week. We showed some footage of Sir Bobby to the players, the first day we arrived.
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“You can have a fabulous club career and an international career. But your international team will always be there as well and if you can win something with your international team, it’s probably bigger than anything else you’re going to experience.
“So, there were lots of messages within that for all of the players but, most importantly, an incredible player, an incredible man.”
It will be emotionally-charged occasion at Wembley as the Three Lions celebrate the life of arguably England’s greatest ever player ahead of kick-off against Malta in their Euro 2024 qualifier. It’s the first England match since his death last month.
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Thousands of fans gathered at Old Trafford to say goodbye to Charlton on Monday as the funeral cortege made its way to the cathedral. At the funeral ceremony, former United chief executive David Gill spoke along with John Shiels from the Manchester United Foundation, as well as Charlton’s grandson William Balderston.
After the service, United’s iconic former boss Sir Alex Ferguson gave a heartwarming tribute to Charlton and revealed he had he joined the club back in 1987 because of him.
“He was a fantastic man. I was at United because of Bobby Charlton, no question about that,” said Ferguson. “From the day I came, he supported me 100 per cent, all the way. He was totally behind me in everything we tried to do in terms of youth and, as I said, I was there because of Bobby.”
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