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Who are the most loved England football players?

Revealed - England's Most Loved Footballers

Football is Britain’s biggest passion. In a study of the things British people love the most, football topped the list. The sport topped the league above travelling, listening to music and even having pets! So, it’s no understatement to call the UK ‘the land of football’. 

But have you ever wondered who the public loves to read about? tombola analysed the engagement, and emotive reactions for 50 of team England’s players using Buzzsumo. tombola’s list of players includes the current squad, the 2018 World Cup team and the 10 most voted iconic players. 

They recorded the percentage of love, laugh, sad and angry reactions to articles written for each player over the past year, to reveal the percentage of positive (love) reactions to those articles.

Arsenal midfielder, Emile Smith Rowe, has the biggest number of ‘love’ reactions in the current squad  

tombola analysed articles mentioning the current England squad, and the player with the largest percentage of ‘love’ reactions to those stories might just surprise you.  

Of the 26 players of the current England squad analysed, Arsenal midfielder, Emile Smith Rowe, boasted the most positive reactions. 76% of the engagement on articles mentioning him received a ‘love’ reaction. That’s 34% more than England captain Harry Kane. 

Coming a close second to Rowe is Mason Mount, with 74% of articles on the Chelsea midfielder receiving ‘love’ emojis from fans. 

Most loved footballers

Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka are both third in the league respectively, with 70% of articles on them receiving positive ‘love’ reactions from readers.

Sir Bobby Charlton boasts the highest number of ‘love’ reactions of any player analysed  

According to the study of 50 footballers, including current and previous England squad members, it’s Sir Bobby Charlton who wins the league. 

97% of all engagement on articles discussing the former England midfielder boasted ‘love’ reactions. As part of England’s only winning World Cup team, it’s no surprise that he is the most popular when it comes to the British public.

Most popular England players

Chelsea midfielder, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, takes second place of 50 footballers analysed. As part of the 2018 England World Cup squad, he has cemented his popularity with the public. 85% of articles about him had positive reactions, with more than three quarters reacting with a ‘love’ emoji. 

Emile Smith Rowe again features in the premier league of popular footballers, taking third place. It’s little surprise, however, to see fan favourite, Marcus Rashford, in fourth place, with 75% of stories about him ‘loved’ by fans. 

Other iconic players such as David Beckham and Bobby Moore place within the top 10 of the most beloved footballers. Bobby Moore received 74% of ‘love’ reactions to articles about him, with Beckham receiving 69%.

England Manager, Gareth Southgate, is more popular than Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Kyle Walker

When it comes to some of the England squad, it’s actually manager, Gareth Southgate, that’s more popular, according to the study. 

We analysed 9,352 articles about Southgate, and 45% boasted that all-important ‘love’ reaction. In comparison, Rooney only received 42% of positive reactions. Kyle Walker only had 41% of articles about him ‘loved’ by fans. 

For those who enjoy watching football on the TV you can also find out what some of your favourite TV shows reveal about your personality


tombola analysed the engagement, and emotive reactions to 50 footballer players on Buzzsumo. They recorded the percentage of love, laugh, sad and angry reactions to over 100,000 articles written for each player over the past year. Data recorded 17/01/22.