Tonight could see Eagles midfielder Yohan Cabaye take to the field against England at Wembley Stadium, but a Palace player turning out against the Three Lions isn’t as unusual as you might think.
In fact more players have played against England than the 12 that have won caps for them during their time in south London. 13 players have lined up against the national side, with Cabaye set to add to that number this evening.
Unsurprisingly the majority come from the home nations, with six representing Wales. Billy Davies (below), the club’s first ever international player, was also the first to play against the English six years after his first cap in 1914 when he would play in a Home Championship fixture in Cardiff where his side lost 2-0.
Joseph “Tom” Jones would play twice against the English in 1921 and 1922 without tasting success and then in 1964 Tony Millington won a cap in a 2-1 defeat at Wembley. Ian Evans would turn out three times against England during the same decade, losing at Wrexham and Cardiff (with Palace’s Peter Taylor playing for the opposite side) before Wales finally had a winning Eagle against their neighbours when Evans’ side were 1-0 victors at Wembley.
In 1980 Palace boasted two players in the Welsh side when Peter Nicholas and Ian Walsh (below) featured in a famous 4-1 Home Championship win at the Racecourse Ground with the latter getting on the scoresheet against Kenny Sansom’s men, and Walsh would also play in a goalless draw a year later.
Palace’s only other representatives from the home nations come in the form of Robert McCracken who played in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 defeat in 1920 and a goalless draw the following year, and Barry Bannan (below) was the most recent Eagle to play against the English when he came on as a 61st minute substitute in Scotland’s 3-1 defeat at Hampden Park 12 months ago.
Indeed there have been more Finnish Palace representatives to play against England than Irish or Scottish. In October 2000 the on-loan Mikael Forssell helped his side to a 0-0 draw against Kevin Keegan’s England in a 2002 World Cup qualifier, and the following year Aki Riihilahti (below) lined up at Anfield in what was Sven Goran Eriksson’s first competitive game in charge.
The Palace midfielder opened the scoring before goals from David Beckham and Michael Owen turned the game on its head. Forssell and future Eagle Shefqi Kuqi would also appear from the bench before Eriksson would gain a 2-1 win.
Tony Popovic also scored against England in a 3-1 friendly win for Australia in February 2003, a match best remembered for Wayne Rooney’s Three Lions debut, and another pair of Eagles played for Hungary in their 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in the build-up to 2006 World Cup. Sandor Torghelle appeared from the bench with Gabor Kiraly (below) playing the full game between the posts and saving a Frank Lampard penalty.