When Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scored a hat-trick for England in their 7-0 demolition job on North Macedonia, it was the 90th time a player had scored three (or more) goals for the Three Lions*. The first two England hat-tricks were scored way back in February 1882 in a monster 13-0 drubbing of Ireland in Belfast. But despite there being not far short of 100 hat-tricks for England, there are only 14 men who’ve managed to score two or more during their international careers.
In this article, we’ll run through the most prolific England hat-trick-hitters and we’ll take a closer look at the five men who have scored four or more hat-tricks for the Three Lions.
*Note that we are talking about officially recognised international matches and hat-tricks scored in various exhibition matches or war-time games do not count for the purposes of this article.
Which England Players Have Score Two or More Hat-Tricks?
|Player||Hat-Tricks||Appearances||Years Played for England|
*Denotes still playing at the time of writing, stats correct on 20th June 2023.
There are some true legends of football featured above. Dixie Dean, for instance, still holds the record for scoring the most goals in an English top-flight season (even Erling Haaland couldn’t beat Dixie’s 60-goal haul of 1927/28… yet at least). Then there are several players who – along with Dean – scored more than a goal per game for England. These include Steve Bloomer and George Camsell, the latter of whom scored 18 goals in just nine England appearances! Then, of course, we have Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored one of his two England hat-tricks on the biggest stage of all: the World Cup final.
But none of those men scored more than three hat-tricks for the Three Lions. So, let’s investigate those who did.
Jimmy Greaves – Six Hat-Tricks
- Luxembourg 0-9 England – 19th October, 1960
- England 9-3 Scotland – 15th April, 1961
- Peru 0-4 England – 20th May, 1962
- England 8-3 Northern Ireland – 20th November, 1963
- Northern Ireland 3-4 England – 3rd October, 1964
- Norway 1-6 England – 29th June, 1966
One of the greatest goal-getters of his – and indeed any – generation, Jimmy Greaves scored a total of 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances. That means the former Spurs, Chelsea and AC Milan man has the second-best goals-to-game ratio of the top 10 England scorers of all time (only Nat Lofthouse is ahead of him, having scored a brilliant 30 goals in just 33 games).
As you can see, Greaves scored his six England hat-tricks in the years (and in the final case, days!) before the 1966 World Cup. Indeed, he started in the first three games for England at the tournament, but an injury against France in the final group game meant he needed stitches and gave a certain Geoff Hurst a chance to shine. And shine he did. If not for that injury, perhaps Greaves would have banged in his seventh hat-trick for England in the World Cup final.
Gary Lineker – Five Hat-Tricks
- England 5-0 Turkey – 16th October, 1985
- England 3-0 Poland – 11th June, 1986
- Spain 2-4 – 18th February, 1987
- England 8-0 Turkey – 14th October, 1987
- Malaysia 2-4 England – 12th June, 1991
The first England player to score a hat-trick at a World Cup since Geoff Hurst (although, sadly, not in a final!), Gary Lineker was as slick on the pitch as he is as a TV presenter. With a reputation for sharp finishing and being in the right place at the right time, he was also a bastion of fair play and never received so much as a yellow card during his career.
Harry Kane – Five Hat-Tricks
- England 6-1 Panama – 24th June, 2018
- England 4-0 Bulgaria – 7th September, 2019
- England 7-0 Montenegro – 14th November, 2019
- England 5-0 Albania – 12th November, 2021
- San Marino 0-10 England – 15th November, 2021
The only player on our list who is still plying his trade, it would come as a surprise to no one if Harry Kane equalled and even surpassed Jimmy Greaves at the top of the hat-trick charts. At the time of writing though, the current Spurs legend is still one short of the Spurs legend from an earlier era.
Now the leading England scorer of all-time, Kane is a complete strike who compensates for his slight lack of pace with his ability to hold up play and bring others into the game. When Kane smashed in two hat-tricks in the space of just three days in November 2021, many assumed that was an England record… but hadn’t reckoned on the next man in our list!
Vivian Woodward – Four Hat-Tricks
- Wales 1-7 England – 16th March, 1908
- Austria 1-11 England – 8th June, 1908
- Hungary 2-8 England – 31 May, 1909
- Austria 1-8 England – 1st June, 1909
If you thought Jimmy Greaves scoring 44 goals for England in 57 games was good, how does a record of 29 goals in just 23 games sound? That’s what Vivian Woodward achieved in his England career that ran from 1903 to 1911. And that included an impressive haul of four hat-tricks, with two of them coming on consecutive days! Interestingly, unlike any of the others with four or more England hat-tricks, all Woodward’s were scored away from home. In a fantastic career, Woodward also captained Great Britain to gold medals at both the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games.
Bobby Charlton – Four Hat-Tricks
- United States 1-8 England – 28th May, 1959
- Luxembourg 0-9 England – 19th October, 1960
- England 8-0 Mexico – 10th May, 1961
- Switzerland 1-8 England – 5th June, 1963
Bobby Charlton is a footballing legend. He won the World Cup with England and the European Cup with Manchester United and was the leading England scorer for years with a total of 49 goals from 106 appearances. Not bad from what was essentially a midfield role! In short, Charlton is a giant of English football. He may not have scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final (like Geoff Hurst), but Charlton will go down in history as one of the greatest England players ever.