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England players to wear legacy numbers for 1,000th game

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LONDON (Reuters) – England’s players will wear ‘legacy numbers’ on their shirts and former captains and members of the 1966 World Cup winning team will be invited to Wembley to celebrate the nation’s 1,000th international when Montenegro visit on Nov. 14.

All players who have ever represented England in the past 147 years will have their own legacy number, starting from their keeper in their first international, Robert Baker, at number one to England’s most recent cap-winner Tyrone Mings at 1,244.

In a statement the Football Association said the legacy numbers would be printed underneath the national crest after special dispensation was given by UEFA.

The numbers will be retained going forward but will instead be printed inside the collar.

To commemorate the occasion, Viv Anderson, recognised as the first black player to represent England, will also attend.

Manager Gareth Southgate, whose legacy number is 1,071, said the numbers “encapsulate the history” of the team.

“We always talk to the players about the badge on the front of the shirt and how we are a small part of that history,” Southgate said. “There are so many players that have gone before and players that will come after.

“It’s important we respect the shirt and leave it in a better place than when we found it. So to be involved in this game is a particularly poignant moment, especially given that some of our former players will be at the match as well.”

England’s cricket players also wear legacy numbers on their shirts as a chronological record of their first cap.

Southgate’s team need just a draw from the Euro 2020 qualifier to book their place in next year’s finals.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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