Analysis of drinking figures for England from NHS Digital by the Portman Group shows that the vast majority (79%) of younger men are drinking within the weekly guidelines or don’t drink at all.

The UK alcohol watchdog has compared the age demographics of four generations of English World Cup footballers to see what their drinking habits might be like today.

For Russia 2018, England is fielding its third youngest World Cup squad ever with an average age of just under 26.  The latest official NHS figures show that over half (57%) of men in England in the same 25-34 age bracket drink less than 14 units of alcohol a week and a further 15% are non-drinkers. Only 5% are drinking over 35 units a week.

The figures show that the vast majority of men across all age groups are either drinking within the weekly guidelines or not at all. The England team captained by David Beckham in the 2006 tournament are now in their late thirties. More than half of men in the 35-44 age bracket (53%) drink 14 units or less.

The squad that took England to the 1990 semi-finals are now an average age of 56. The majority of men of a similar age (61%) are either non-drinkers or drink within the guidelines. The legendary World Cup winners of 1966 now have an average age of 79, with 54% of men in this age bracket drinking within the guidelines.

According to NHS figures, the rate of men’s binge drinking (8 units or more in a single session) has fallen in England since Beckham’s captaincy of England in 2006.

John Timothy, CEO of the Portman Group, commented:

“While England’s chances of winning the World Cup might be slim, the good news is that our responsible drinking habits have been improving since the last time England reached the quarter finals in 2006. It’s clear that the vast majority of men, and particularly those young enough to be of the England World Cup squad’s age and younger, are today drinking responsibly.

“This is a cause to celebrate whatever the outcome of the World Cup.”