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Calm, alert and brave, Gordon Banks was the ideal goalkeeper for any age | Richard Williams

For a while, as the 60s bled into the 70s, Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, was accepted as the finest goalkeeper in the world

Not all of the 11 players who won the World Cup for England in 1966 would claim he was the best in his position the country has ever produced. Two or three might have a good shout, but the one over whom there could be no dissent was Gordon Banks.

He was, in short, the ideal goalkeeper for any age. Calm but ever alert, organising his defenders, watching his angles, plucking the ball out of the air, anticipating what a forward with the ball at his feet might do next, as brave as a lion in an era when strikers had a licence to intimidate, his qualities were beyond dispute.

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