SPECIAL ABILITIES: *Positioning *Scoring *Post Player *Middle Shooting
Attack/Defence Awareness Card: Attack Minded
Nat Lofthouse – the ‘Lion of Vienna' – was the last great champion of a dying breed: the traditional English centre-forward – the talismanic figurehead given the job of leading the line, taking more than his share of knocks, and scoring most of the goals. He nearly averaged a goal a game during an eight year stint as England’s No 9. Scoring thirty goals in thirty-three matches for England he also scored 255 goals in 452 appearances for Bolton Wanderers, the only club he played for.
Lofthouse was an old-style number nine, like Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton before him. ‘A battering ram,' as he once described himself modestly he would use his strength to strike fear into defenders. Tom Finney was far more generous, listing his attributes as ‘speed, fearlessness, a hard shot in either foot, good heading ability, and a robust frame to stand up to all the physical stuff'.
His nickname was bestowed on him for his performance in scoring the winning goal in England 's 3-2 win over Austria in Vienna in 1952 – a match billed as an unofficial championship of Europe .
Lofthouse was knocked unconscious briefly, but insisted on returning to the action despite a knee injury. ‘The courage Nat showed was typical of him,' Alf Ramsey said. ‘The way he insisted on coming back on lifted the heart of every Englishman in the stadium. It made us redouble our efforts to keep the Austrians out.'
His performance in the FA Cup Final of 1953 was another highlight: Lofthouse scored one goal, hit the post, harassed his opponents, and was almost knocked unconscious. At the end of the game, he walked over and shook the hands of the victorious Blackpool players.
Such sportsmanship, allied to his loyalty to Bolton , his only club, added to his public appeal. Voted Footballer of the Year in 1953, Lofthouse was elated when his conduct on the field was praised as highly as his scoring prowess.
Five years later, Bolton were back at Wembley for an FA Cup Final against Manchester United. All 11 Wanderers players were local lads, and each of them had cost the club only a £10 signing-on fee.
This time, Lofthouse scored twice, controversially bundling the ball into the net with a shoulder charge against Harry Gregg, the Manchester United goalkeeper, for one of his goals in a 2-0 victory.
(1953 FA Cup 'Matthews' Final , scores first Goal)