England did not have a man sent off
until their 424th match in 1968. Three more were dismissed over the next 30
years, and what was truly a magnificent disciplinary record stood at four
dismissals in the 749 matches played through 26 June 1998.
But in England's next 12 matches over a little
more than a year, the total doubled as four more were sent off, one of them the first England player to
be dismissed on home soil. For the first time, England had two men sent off during the
same season--in European Championship qualifying matches against the same
opponent, Sweden. And for the first time England had players sent off in
consecutive seasons, indeed, in three consecutive seasons.
When Paul Scholes committed two yellow
card foul tackles against Sweden in 1999, he became the first England player to
be dismissed on home soil and thus the first at Wembley Stadium.
Scholes was the only England player
sent off in the 223 matches England played at the Empire Stadium. A respite
followed, but it was short. In the second match of England's very next
European Championship qualification campaign, against FYR Macedonia on 16 October
2002, the young yet often-disciplined striker Alan Smith was dismissed for a
second foul tackle, this one coming in time added on at match's end and,
absurdly, after the ball already had crossed the touch line. Smith thus
became the second England player to be sent off on home soil, but this time
at Southampton's new St. Mary's Stadium. Captain David Beckham became
the third player to be sent-off on home soil in October 2005 at Old Trafford, Manchester.
When the young but temperamental Wayne Rooney was sent off during
the 2006 European Championship Finals, it became just the second
time two England players were sent off in one season. Captain Steven Gerrard
became the fourth dismissal at Wembley, the first at the new stadium, September 2012 and the oldest to be
Raheem Sterling became the youngest player to be
sent off when he did so against Ecuador on 4 June 2014. He was 19
years and 179 days old. He was also the only substitute to be sent
Following a respite of over six years,
2020-21 became a record breaking season. The first to see three
players dismissed in one season, and that was only two months in. It
is also the first occasion when two England players were dismissed
in the same match. Although Harry Maguire saw red for two late
tackles at Wembley against Denmark on 14 October,
Reece James was dismissed after the final whistle for arguing with
the referee. His dismissal on his third appearance makes him the
least experienced England player to be dismissed, beating Sterling
by a single appearance.
David Batty is the only
player to never play for England again after he was sent-off against
Poland in September 1999.
Sixteen of the eighteen dismissals occurred
in competitive play. Four came in final tournaments, three in the World
Cup, one, the very first, in the European Championships. Twelve came in qualifying competitions, four in the World Cup, five in
the European Championship and three in the Nations League. Two more came in a friendly match. Eight
occurred in matches played in June/July at the end of
the season and three in matches played in September at the beginning of the
season. Four in October. Twelve
occurred in away matches, only six at home.
David Beckham and
Wayne Rooney hold the distinction of being dismissed from the field
twice in their England career.
and Steven Gerrard are the only captain's to be sent off.
Of the eighteen dismissals, only
three were against South American opposition, two of them Argentina. Another
one each against African opposition. The remaining fourteen were all against
Of the eighteen
dismissals, only three were made in the first-half.
Following a dismissal,
only two matches have ever gone onto to an England victory.
Following Beckham's dismissal at Old Trafford against Austria in
October 2005, England held on to their one-nil victory. In
September 2020, England went onto beat Iceland following Kyle
Walker's dismissal, A
further ten matches ended in a draw. Only six ended in defeat.