It’s the kind of dream team debate which would give any armchair manager selection headaches.
If you could pick an England XI made up solely of players who have played for Liverpool and Everton, who would make the cut?
Much will depend on whether you are of a red or a blue persuasion, of course.
Would it be Sagar or Clemence in goal? Labone, Hughes, Mercer or Carragher at the back?
The competition for places only intensifies once you move into midfield and attack, with stellar names like Gerrard, Ball and Barnes jostling for position behind the likes of Dean, Hunt and Lineker.
As England prepare to take on Scotland at Celtic Park on Tuesday, we decided it was a good time to select our all-time Mersey England XI, soon to be followed by a Scotland Mersey XI.
So here it is.
Between the sticks
Two contenders stand out – legendary keepers revered on either side of Stanley Park.
Ted Sagar and Ray Clemence were goalkeeping giants for Everton and Liverpool respectively.
Sagar was a double title-winner for the Blues in the 1930s and Neville Southall is the only goalkeeper to have topped his tally of 499 Everton appearances, a record the Welshman surpassed in 1994.
But Sagar won only four England caps – a figure dwarfed by the 61 Clemence collected between 1972 and 1984, an era when he contested the No1 slot with another genuine great, Peter Shilton.
A stalwart of the Reds’ all-conquering sides of the 1970s, Clemence won five League titles and three European Cups – and gets the nod here over his Everton counterpart.
Selected: Ray Clemence
Ray Clemence in action for Liverpool in 1977
At the back
With all due respect to the in-form Leighton Baines, there can be only one name on our teamsheet at left-back. Ray Wilson flew the flag as Everton’s sole representative in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning side (Alan Ball was a Blackpool player at the time) so there is no shifting the Derbyshire-born defender, who won 63 caps.
On the opposite side of the defence, red/blue balance is found in the shape of the Mr Consistency himself Phil Neal, serial trophy-winner, spot-kick specialist and member of the 50-cap club. Gary Stevens, who racked up plenty of honours himself on both sides of the border during spells with Everton and Rangers, pushed Neal close.
In the centre of the defence, a Blues legend of the 1960s – the unflappable Brian Labone – adds poise and a dash of School of Science style alongside Crazy Horse himself, Emlyn Hughes.
There were few players prouder to play for their country than the versatile defender, whose 62-cap career spanned 11 years and took in games at left-back, centre-half and also midfield. Hughes wore the skipper’s armband 23 times.
The likes of Phil Thompson, Jamie Carragher and even the versatile Joe Mercer – his England career shortened by the war – all came close.
Selected: Neal, Hughes, Labone, Wilson
Goodison icon, Brian Labone
The list of players who missed the cut here underlines the quality at our disposal.
Reid, Bracewell, Chedgzoy and Harvey (only one England cap but a true Blue legend) are among the Everton omissions, while there is no place either for the likes of McDermott, McManaman, McMahon and Kennedy from the red half of Merseyside.
A good blend of mercurial ability and undoubted class in the wide areas comes from John Barnes (79 caps) and Trevor Steven (36 caps), members of the England squads which reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 1986 before going a step further in Italy four years later. At their peak during the 1980s, there were few better wide men.
The centre of midfield is the stuff of pure football fantasy, with Steven Gerrard linking up with Alan Ball. Neither player needs any introduction and their captaincy of the side is, of course, a joint venture.
Selected: Barnes, Gerrard, Ball, Steven
John Barnes before the World Cup qualifying match against Turkey in Izmir, in 199
Leading the line
Our all-time Mersey England XI boasts a cross-generation, red/blue strike partnership which would strike fear into any defender.
By pairing ‘66 World Cup winner Roger Hunt (18 goals in 34 caps) with Dixie Dean (18 goals in 16), we’re uniting two of the greatest goalscorers in English football history.
The pair bagged 663 club goals between them, enough for them to get the nod ahead of the likes of Kevin Keegan and Tommy Lawton in our attack. Wayne Rooney and Gary Lineker were also in the frame, but shone for an all-too-short time in royal blue to make it into the starting XI.
Anyway, there’s no shame in being kept out by Dixie and Sir Roger.
Selected: Dean, Hunt
We know not all of you will agree with our selection – we’re just getting the debate started – so feel free to tweet your best combined teams for both countries to @LivEchoLFC or @LivEchoEFC and we’ll publish them on our Liverpool and Everton liveblogs
This is how our Mersey England XI would line up…