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Dennis James Wilshaw (11 March 1926 - 10 May 2004) was an English international footballer. He scored 172 goals in 379 appearances in the Football League, and also scored ten goals in twelve appearances for the England national team.

Playing style

Brian Glanville described him as: "Slim but strong, at 5ft 10in and 10st 7lb, Wilshaw was quick and direct, with a powerful shot... Essentially left-footed but effortlessly versatile, Wilshaw could play with equal success at outside-left, inside-left, or even centre-forward."

Another journalist, Ivan Ponting, wrote that: "Wilshaw was strong, resilient and direct, an awkward customer for any opponent to control, and thus was perfectly suited to Stan Cullis's formidable all-action Wolves side... He was capable of sudden bursts of searing acceleration which equipped him ideally to exploit gaps in opposition defences. His shooting was explosively powerful, especially with his left foot, and he was combative in the air."

Club career

Wilshaw joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in March 1944 after playing for Packmoor Boys' Club in his youth. The war made guesting a common occurrence and so he played a game for Port Vale on 5 May 1945, a 6-0 Potteries derby thumping at the Victoria Groundmarker. He began guesting at Walsall and had an extended loan spell at the Third Division South side, making 74 appearances, scoring 27 goals, before returning to top flight Wolves in September 1948. During this time he also continued his education to become a qualified teacher.

Staying at Molineuxmarker for another nine years, he managed a total of 117 goals in 232 matches for the club. He made his Wolves' debut on 12 March 1949, scoring a hat-trick over Newcastle United, he went on to score ten goals in eleven league goals that season.

Thanks to greats such as Jesse Pye and Roy Swinbourne, it took until the 1952-53 to establish himself in the first team, he bagged 18 goals in 30 games that season. He was a part of the Wolves side that won the league in 1953-54. Scoring 25 of Wolves' 96 goals that season, he described the players poor relationship with manager Stan Cullis, claiming that the club's team spirit was good "because we all hated his guts".

In his time, Wolves were one of the greatest teams in the world and he played in victories over Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Valencia, Honvéd and Real Madrid.

In 1957, the striker was transferred to Second Division Stoke City for a £10,000 fee, scoring 49 goals in 108 games. He retired from professional football in 1961 after breaking a leg in a FA Cup tie.

International career

Wilshaw earned 12 caps for the England, five of which were friendlies and seven were competitive fixtures. He scored twice on his debut on 10 October 1953 against Wales, in a 4-1 victory at Ninian Parkmarker.

His next game was in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, scoring a goal against Switzerland at the Wankdorf Stadiummarker. He also appeared in the competition's quarter-finals, as England lost 4-2 to the Uruguayans.

His fourth cap was in the 1955 British Home Championship, he bagged four goals in a 7-2 win over Scotland at Wembleymarker. After caps against France, Spain, Portugal and Wales, both his eighth and ninth goals came against Northern Ireland in a 3-0 win. His final goal came against Finland in Helsinkimarker on 20 May 1956 in a 3-0 victory.

After a friendly against West Germany, he made his final international appearance at Windsor Parkmarker, in a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland in the 1957 British Home Championship.

Post-retirement

After retiring as a player, Wilshaw stayed with Stoke City as a scout and also became a qualified FA coach and sports psychologist.

He also took up his old career as a schoolteacher and eventually became head of a school in his native Stoke. Later he joined the Service and Community Studies department at Crewe and Alsager College of Education.

He died in Stoke-on-Trentmarker on 10 May 2004, at the age of 78, after suffering a heart attack.

Honours

with Wolverhampton Wanderers


with England


References


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