With the international friendlies currently dominating the news; particularly after England’s 3-2 win over Germany, I thought it would be appropriate to look at a few notable players that have turned out for both Portsmouth and the Three Lions.
Some were already established England players before joining the Blues, whereas the fine form of others while down south kick-started their international careers, as Pompey endured a healthy spell in the Premier League…
James earned himself 10 caps for the Under-21s, however his first senior call-up came under Glenn Hoddle back in March 1997 while he was playing for Liverpool. For much of his early international career, he was second choice to Arsenal legend David Seaman, but years later he established the number one shirt and in doing so became the first Portsmouth player to play for the senior England side since Mark Hateley in 1984.
Under Fabio Capello, and while still at Portsmouth, James started the first 13 games of the Italian’s reign and retained his position up until the 2010 World Cup where he was part of the 23-man squad heading to South Africa. Despite Robert Green starting the opening game against the US, James returned to keep two clean sheets in the remaining group games, becoming England’s oldest-ever World Cup debutant at 39 years and 321 days old.
Campbell really established himself as an England regular during the qualifying games for the 2002 World Cup following the retirement of Tony Adams. He partnered Rio Ferdinand in a pairing that carried through into the tournament. Here; Campbell scored his only international goal in a group game against Sweden, as the match ended 1-1, before being the only England player to be named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team at the end of the competition. The former Arsenal defender’s inclusion in the 2006 World Cup saw him become the first player to represent England on the pitch at six consecutive international tournaments, however his position was now constantly under threat from John Terry. While at Portsmouth; Campbell played four games under Steve McClaren as England’s Euro 2008 qualification campaign failed, before his fine form almost saw him be selected for the 2010 World Cup, however he did not make Capello’s 30-man preliminary squad.
Johnson really blossomed in a Portsmouth shirt after failing to cement a full-back spot at Chelsea. Before joining the Blues, the predominant right-back did have some international caps to his name, however he hadn’t turned out for the Three Lions since August 2005. Superb form down south saw Johnson be named in Capello’s first squad in January 2008 before being a regular in the side that went to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His first goal for England came in a friendly leading up to the tournament, netting in a 3-1 win over Mexico at Wembley Stadium. A move to Premier League giants Liverpool aided Johnson in cementing his place in the starting line-up for both Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, starting every game England played in both tournaments.
All in all; Defoe has 55 senior England caps to his name, as well as 19 goals. He has been in-and-out of the squad since 2004 due to dips in form and various injuries. While at Portsmouth, Defoe made a name for himself immediately; he was initially omitted from Capello’s first squad, however one day after scoring on his Blues debut, he was recalled to replace the injured Gabriel Agbonlahor.
His international goals tally increased to five after scoring twice against Trinidad and Tobago, staking a claim to be more of a regular in the starting line-up. His 15 goals in 31 appearances for Portsmouth did not go unnoticed as he was called up for the first internationals of the 2009 season, just two months after leaving for Tottenham. Defoe would go on to be selected for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, but failed to make Roy Hodgson’s team for the Brazilian World Cup in 2014.