SunSport's Colin Hart says the 1966 World Cup winner shattered the perception of full-backs as powerhouses due to his pacy wide-play that won praise from legendary England skipper Bobby Moore

I very much doubt if there is ever a heated discussion about who was the best left-back.

If there should be such a debate, then Ray Wilson’s name deserves to be included among the elite who graced that position.

Wilson earned his place in the Hall of Fame and became part of our footballing folklore as a member of England’s 1966 Wembley World Cup-winning team.

Before Ray came along, and when I was young, full-backs were built like brick outhouses with thighs the size of sides of beef, whose only intent seemed to be to kick the ball and the winger it was attached to into the terraces.

Wilson changed that perception completely.


I had the good fortune to see him play for Everton and England many times — and I was at Wembley to see that never-to-be-forgotten final 52 years ago.

Ray wasn’t very tall but he had the build and speed of a whippet.


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He was lightning-fast and a fearless, tigerish tackler, while his positional play was superb.

England captain Bobby Moore said: “It was a comfort to play alongside him.

"He was a fiery little fellow who would stand up to all the pressure.”

Bobby didn’t hand out praise lightly.

And England centre-forward Joe Royle, who was an Everton teammate, described him as a maestro.

There is no such thing as a full-back in the modern game — they are wing-backs.

I can assure all the youngsters who will be cheering for England at next month’s World Cup, if Ray was playing today he would be in the squad going to Russia as our No 1 left wing-back.

The greatest left-back I’ve seen was AC Milan and Italy genius Paolo Maldini.

Closely followed by the Brazilian’s Nilton Santos and Roberto Carlos, Germans Karl-Heinz Schnellinger and Paul Breitner, Frenchman Bixente Lizarazu and Holland’s Ruud Krol.

For me, Ray Wilson would sit very comfortably in the company of those guys.

Footnote: To all those paying a fortune to see England in Russia, my ten-match season ticket at Wembley in 66, for the best seat in the house, including semi-final and final was £25.


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