Grooming Editor

A History of English International Football in Haircuts

As the entire world descends into a football frenzy, we decided to take this opportunity to combine two of the great loves of the Mankind team, and reflect on the footballing (and men’s grooming) achievements of England teams gone by. In this article, we’re going to take you through the unforgettable highs and hysterical lows of the vibrant history of England in international football (in haircuts).

 Stanley Matthews 1934-1957

When Stanley Matthews first donned the white shirt for England, it was a simpler time. Choices of formation boiled down to 2-8 or 10-0, while choices of haircut were limited to ‘the peaky blinders’ or male pattern baldness. Known for his pace, dribbling, and crossing ability, the iconic Stoke City winger notched up 11 goals in his 54 appearances for England.

Bobby Charlton 1958-1970

Arguably the greatest English footballer of all time, with arguably the most ambitious comb-over in football history. Bobby Charlton was an icon for club and country, lifting the trophy in England’s one instance of International Football glory. He also held the record for the most goals scored by England (49) and Manchester Utd (249) until being unseated in 2015 and 2017 respectively by Wayne Rooney in both cases.


Kevin Keegan 1972-1982

If George Best was the Mick Jagger of British Football, then Kevin Keegan is doubtless the Rod Stewart. If you don’t believe us, have a look at this performance from his short-lived stint as a pop star. With 21 goals on the international stage, and an extensive club history both in playing and management, he’s also known for his many Keeganisms. Some of our favourite examples of his mental gymnastics include ‘I’m not disappointed – just disappointed’, ‘I don’t think there’s anyone bigger or smaller than Maradona’, and ‘The 33 or 34 year olds will be 36 or 37 by the time the next World Cup comes around, if they’re not careful’.

Gary Lineker 1984-1992

Gary Lineker #tbt #garylineker #england

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The beloved television star scored 48 goals for England and had a successful club career before moving into his berth presenting BBC’s Match of the Day. Very much a product of the 1980s, Lineker resisted the trend of mullets (for the most part) and moustaches so loved by his peers. Instead, he was recognisable for his inch perfect lego-man hair, which was found out of place about as often as he could be found outside of the 6-yard box.

David Seaman 1988-2002

Name a more iconic ponytail. We’ll wait.

David James 1997-2010

David James made 53 appearances in goal for England, and has made an incredible 826 appearances in club football since beginning his senior career at Watford in 1988. Of the England players who’ve turned up to international duty with cornrows, we have to say we like his the best, while the that’s less said of David Beckham’s attempt, the better.

David Beckham 1996-2009

Speaking of Becks, this list would of course be incomplete without him. Aside from a glistening club career involving winning domestic league titles in four countries, on top of becoming a global style icon the likes of which football may never see again, he may be the man who is single-handedly responsible for inspiring the greatest number of poor haircut choices in human history. As a rule of thumb, this man may be able to get away with a mohawk/samurai ponytail/buzz cut with fake scar lines/Kurt Cobainesque curtains (delete as appropriate), but you, I’m afraid, cannot. For this article, we’ve gone for the classic m-shaped fringe, also seen on 1 member of every boyband active between 1995 and 2003.

Raheem Sterling 2012-Present

Raheem Sterling ? “It’s been a normal week.” Rough life he’s living then ?

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Here at Mankind, we’re quietly pinning a lot of hopes on the Manchester City Winger’s creativity and goal threat this summer. We’re also loving the low cut fade he’s absolutely nailed for recent outings for the International side.

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Writer and expert

Creative storyteller. Believer in the power of natural ingredients and cruelty-free formulas. Always puts skincare first for a no-makeup look.