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The Lion of Vienna: Our greatest England international

23 April 2020

Without question Nat Lofthouse’s name is held in the highest possible regard by Bolton Wanderers and the entirety of the fan base and he enjoyed a hugely successful spell on the international stage representing an England side in the decade prior to the solitary World Cup Final victory.

Born in Bolton, ‘Lofty’ as he will be forever affectionately known, came through as a youth player with Wanderers to sign professional forms and of course went onto have a long and successful playing career with his hometown club – including two goals in an FA Cup Final victory against Manchester United in 1958.

Going onto make 503 appearances for Wanderers, Lofthouse still remains the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 285 goals. With an incredible record of better than a goal every two games, he is 124 goals clear of David Jack who is third on the list; the leading tally is never likely to be surpassed.

On 22 November 1950, he earned his first cap for England and scored twice in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia at Highbury, the former home of Arsenal. It was almost a year later when he next found the net for the national team, and once again he scored a brace – this time coming up against Northern Ireland in a 2-0 victory at Villa Park.

His next international goal came in a friendly against Austria at Wembley, and his next double also against Austria was to earn him the nickname: ‘The Lion of Vienna.’ Scoring the opening goal and the winner for the Three Lions at Praterstadion in the Austrian capital Vienna, he played a starring role in the country’s 3-2 victory.

Lofthouse would go onto score goals against Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Belgium, Chile, United States, Uruguay, Scotland, Denmark, Finland and the Soviet Union before his international career came to an end after eight years.

His international record of 30 goals in just 33 appearances gives him one of the best scoring averages of any striker to ever represent the country. The finest footballer to ever hail from the town of Bolton is joint seventh on the list of all-time scorers for England; level with Alan Shearer and Sir Tom Finney. Remarkably, he scored two goals in a game for the Three Lions on 12 occasions.

‘Lofty’ sadly passed away in January 2011 at the age of 85, but his impact at both club level and international level will never, ever be forgotten.

 

Lofthouse’s England Goals

                       22nd November 1950      vs. Yugoslavia                    Highbury, London

                       22nd November 1950      vs. Yugoslavia                    Highbury, London

                       14th November 1951      vs. Northern Ireland           Villa Park, Birmingham

                       14th November 1951      vs. Northern Ireland           Vila Park, Birmingham

5                        28th November 1951      vs. Austria                         Wembley Stadium, London

6                        25th May 1952               vs. Austria                      Praterstadion, Vienna

                       25th May 1952               vs. Austria                       Praterstadion, Vienna

8                        28th May 1952               vs. Switzerland                  Hardturm, Zurich

9                        28th May 1952               vs. Switzerland                  Hardturm, Zurich

10                      4th October 1952           vs. Northern Ireland        Windsor Park, Belfast

11                      12th November 1952      vs. Wales                             Wembley Stadium, London

12                      12th November 1952      vs. Wales                             Wembley Stadium, London

13                     24th November 1952       vs. Belgium                         Wembley Stadium, London

14                     24th November 1952       vs. Belgium                         Wembley Stadium, London

15                     24th May 1953                vs. Chile                    Estadio Nacional de Chile, Santiago

16                     8th June 1953                 vs. United States                 Polo Grounds, New York

17                     8th June 1953                 vs. United States                  Polo Grounds, New York

18                     10th October 1953          vs. Wales                             Ninian Park, Cardiff

19                     10th October 1953          vs. Wales                             Ninian Park, Cardiff

20                     11th November 1953       vs. Northern Ireland             Goodison Park, Liverpool

21                     17th June 1954               vs. Belgium                         St. Jakob Stadium, Basel

22                     17th June 1954               vs. Belgium                         St. Jakob Stadium, Basel

23                     26th June 1954               vs. Uruguay                        St. Jakob Stadium, Basel

24                     2nd April 1955                vs. Scotland                        Wembley Stadium, London

25                     2nd April 1955                vs. Scotland                        Wembley Stadium, London

26                     2nd October 1955           vs. Denmark           Københavns Idrætspark, Copenhagen

27                     2nd October 1955           vs. Denmark           Københavns Idrætspark, Copenhagen

28                     20th May 1956               vs. Finland              Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki

29                     20th May 1956               vs. Finland              Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki

30                     22nd October 1958          vs. Soviet Union                 Wembley Stadium, London

 

 


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