Duncan Edwards (born 1st October 1936 Dudley; died 21st February 1958 Haidhausen Munich, age 21) became the youngest postwar full England international aged 18, a record that stood for 42 years. He earned 18 full England caps, scoring 5 goals. A 'Busby Babe', Edwards played 177 games for Manchester United scoring 21 goals. He died as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich Air Disaster.
About Duncan Edwards
Don Revie OBE, Leeds United and England Manager:
You don't hear many professionals talk lightly of greatness because it is so rare, but that is what I saw in Duncan Edwards the first time I set eyes on him. He reached the same fabulous standard at left-half, centre-half, inside-left and centre-forward. He is the kind of player managers dream about.
Sir Walter Winterbottom, England Manager:
Duncan Edwards was the spirit of British Football.
Sir Bobby Charlton, Manchester United and England:
He was the best player I ever saw, or am likely to see.
Ferenc Puskás, Hungary, Honved and Real Madrid captain:
Duncan Edwards was stunning to watch, so young yet with such power. He was a massive physical presence on the pitch, always working for the team.
Sir Bobby Robson CBE, England Player and Manager:
His size surprised me. He was a colossus in fact, very strong and powerful. He tackled beautifully and had perfect timing. I considered him to be the finest young player in England at that time. Surely he would have gone on to be one of the greatest players the world has ever seen.
Sir Matt Busby, Manchester United Manager:
If ever there was a player that could be called a one-man team, that man was Duncan Edwards... He has always remained to me incomparable. Off the field, Duncan did not want to know about the high life. He just wanted to train, play or go back to his digs or home to Dudley. He lived for his football. Maybe some of that would have rubbed off on George [Best] if Duncan had survived Munich. I suppose in their own ways, they both died young, didn't they?
Jimmy Murphy, Wales Manager, Manchester United Assistant Manager:
When I used to hear Muhammad Ali proclaim to the world that he was the greatest, I would always smile. The greatest of them all was a footballer named Duncan Edwards
Terry Venables, England Player and Manager:
He was my hero and an inspiration. He was potentially the greatest player I've seen. Duncan played in the same position as Bobby Moore, and we'll never know what might have happened in 1966 if he had still been around. He would have been only 29. Perhaps Bobby would have got in the team in another position, because he was a great player, too, but you would never have picked Moore in front of Edwards. Duncan had the edge everywhere, with his remarkable power, pace and strength in the air. Quite simply, Duncan Edwards had the lot.
Bobby Moore, England Captain:
I once played truant from school to watch Duncan play at White Hart Lane. There will never be another player like him.
Jimmy Armfield OBE, Blackpool and England captain:
I played with Edwards in the Army team, he was a football giant. For my generation of footballers, who knew them all really well, the crash was our Kennedy assassination moment, it captured the nation. Edwards was the best footballer in Britain at the time, a big powerful man, but more than that he was technically gifted and had a great shot - we've not had a player like him in my lifetime.
Nat Lofthouse OBE, Bolton Wanderers and England:
Even at 19, Duncan was already half the England side.
Jackie Milburn, Newcastle United and England:
Early on in the game he said to me, ‘I know that you are a great player Mr. Milburn, and that you have a big reputation, but it means nothing at all to me. Today I am not going to allow you a kick at the ball.’ The thing was, Duncan was absolutely true to his word, I hardly did get a kick throughout that game and United won 5-2. I just could not believe how mature this 16-year old kid was, and what ability and self-belief he had.
Sir Stanley Matthews CBE, Stoke City, Blackpool and England:
Edwards could truly be called unique. You can play him anywhere and he would slot into that position as if he'd been playing there season after season.
Sir Tom Finney OBE, Preston NE and England:
He was so strong people could only see the power, but he had a most delicate touch. It is very sad to think what he might have done if he had been allowed. Unquestionably he would have been in the very highest rank.
Johnny Haynes, Fulham and England Captain:
His greatest asset was his strength. Not so much physical strength but a kind of dynamic strength which kept him endlessly on the move, covering, shadowing, backing up attacks, plunging through to finish off an attack with searing shots, as he did so often for his country. His defensive play was quite outstanding, his heading superb. We built up an acute understanding of each other's play, and a joy it was to play with this man, the most indomitable player I have known.
Graham Taylor OBE, England Manager:
One of the greatest players I ever saw. He was a colossus, he would come forward and score and then be back defending. Make no mistake, he'd have absolutely no problem playing in the modern game.
Dr. Georg Maurer CBE, Chief Surgeon, Rechts der Isar hospital Munich:
I do not think anyone other than this young man could have survived so long. His resistance made us admire him.