AS England football fans look forward to their first major finals appearance in almost six decades it is perhaps a good time to look back at the pioneering days of the game.

Shropshire played a key role in the development of football in England in Wales with men born in the county playing internationally either side of the border.

However one particular Ellesmere family was home to not just one but two England football stars.

Robert and Arthur Topham were born in Elson near Ellesmere when football in Britain was in its infancy.

Both would represent England at international level.

Robert was born on November 3 1867 and played as outside right for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Corinthian and Casuals, and earned two caps for England between 1893 and 1894.

He was part of the Corinthian side that competed in the 1898 Sheriff of London Charity Shield against league winners Sheffield United, winning the free kick that Wilfrid Foster scored in the 1-1 replay which resulted in the honour being shared.

Younger brother Arthur was born on February 19, 1869.

He attended Oswestry School, followed by Keble College, Oxford, where he earned a Blue in 1890.

Topham played club football for Casuals, Eastbourne and Chiswick Park, and also guested for Corinthian and known as a left half.

He was a runner-up in the FA Amateur Cup in 1894, the same year he earned an England cap.

He went on to play for Eastbourne until his retirement in 1902.

Both brothers died within months of one another in 1931 with Arthur passing away on May 18 and Robert dying on August 31.