No Boro players were involved, but two Middlesbrough-born stars ensured the city-elect was in the spotlight during England’s enthralling Wembley draw with Ghana on Tuesday night.
When Wolves winger Matt Jarvis joined former Boro star Stewart Downing on the pitch during the second half, it was one of only a few times in England history that two Middlesbrough-born players have represented the nation at the same time.
Jarvis was born in Middlesbrough to Guisborough-based parents in May 1986, just as Boro’s very future was called into question during the dark summer of liquidation. Jarvis's parents, Nick and Linda, were former table tennis professions who relocated their table tennis supplies company from Guisborough to Guildford that same year.
Boro’s loss is now Wolves’ gain, though the player was rejected by Millwall as a teenager and eventually made the grade with Gillingham before earning a move to Molineux.
Tuesday’s match was the first time two Middlesbrough-born players had been on the pitch together for England since Pallister Park-born Downing and Marton-born Jonathan Woodgate were both substitutes against the Czech Republic at Wembley in August 2008.
The same pair were also team-mates two months earlier against Trinidad and Tobago when Boro’s Redcar-born David Wheater was an unused substitute. They were both on Boro’s books when they also took part in England’s friendly with Spain at Old Trafford in February 2007.
The previous time two Middlesbrough-born players had appeared in the same England side was for a 1-1 draw against Ireland in Belfast 96 years earlier, back in October 1919 when Boro star Jacky Carr made his international debut alongside Bradford Park Avenue’s Bob Turnbull, who was born in South Bank.
Six years earlier, in February 1913, Belfast had also been the location as legendary Boro goalkeeper Tim Williamson (born in North Ormesby) won the last of his seven caps alongside Blackburn Rovers’ Grangetown-born Edwin Latheron.
England had first turned to two Boro-born boys against Wales in Wrexham in March 1912 when Williamson joined Everton’s Harry Makepeace in the England line-up for a 2-0 victory. Sporting great Makepeace, whose family left Middlesbrough for Liverpool when he was a child, played four times for England at both football and cricket, while playing for Everton and Lancashire respectively.
Other Middlesbrough-born players to win full England caps include Boro greats Brian Clough, Wilf Mannion, Alan Peacock, Stuart Ripley and Mick McNeil.
Then there was Don Revie, who lived in Bell Street, Middlesbrough, until he signed for Leicester City aged 17 in 1944. He won six caps for England in the mid-50s as a Manchester City player before succeeding Alf Ramsey as England manager in 1973.
Middlesbrough-born goalkeeper Ronnie Sewell, of Blackburn Rovers, was 33 when he won his only England cap against Wales in 1924.
Left-back Ted Catlin was born in South Bank and played youth football with Middlesbrough Schools and South Bank before spending his entire career with Sheffield Wednesday, winning five England caps in the mid-1930s.
Another South Bank lad who went on to win England honours was George Hedley, who played once for England whilst with Sheffield United in 1901.