by Richard DJJ Bowdery.
This Thursday, 9 October, England take on the footballing minnows of Europe or, to give them their full title, San Marino.
It’s a game the three lions are expected to win and win comfortably. But will any of our players put a hat-trick of goals past this team from the Italian Peninsula?
The thought got me to thinking about which England player had scored the most hat-tricks whilst on international duty.
But before answering that question, I’d like to regale you with one or two other facts of a hat-tricky nature.
My first, and one that might augur well for one of our boys on Thursday, is that England’s Stan Mortensen scored his third and final hat-trick of hat-tricks against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on 9 October 1948: 66 years ago to the day of this week’s Wembley fixture.
However, we have to go back to the 19th century to find the first recorded hat-trick by an England player. His name was Howard Vaughton and he achieved this feat whilst playing against Ireland in Belfast on 18 February 1882.
The game also featured another remarkable first. Arthur Brown became the second Englishman to notch a hat-trick of goals on international duty. But what makes him more than the Buzz Aldrin of hat-tricks (and to my knowledge the only time it has happened during an England match), is that it was achieved in the same game.
England won 13-0 with Vaughton adding two more goals to his tally, scoring five in all, whilst Brown ended up netting four.
At the time both Vaughton and Brown played for Aston Villa and were the first Villa players to be called up by England.
To date there have been 81 hat-tricks by an English player representing his country. The last of them was scored by ex-Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, when England took on Bulgaria in a European Championship qualifier in September 2012, at Wembley.
And the player who scored the most hat-tricks for England..? The ex-Chelsea, AC Milan, Spurs and West Ham striker (and goal poacher extraordinaire) Jimmy Greaves, he scored six.
Yet I bet 80 of those 81 England players would gladly give up their achievements for just one hat-trick: the one scored by Geoff Hurst at Wembley on 30 July 1966!