Keown and Adams, Adams and Keown

We’ve already looked at Xavi and Iniesta switching their club numbers at international level. There are probably not enough instances to make this a regular (or interesting) feature, but we will provide examples occasionally.

Number 5 was actually what Tony Adams wore on his Arsenal debut but it was 6 that he made his own, wearing it from 1986 until 2002. Martin Keown also wore both of the traditional centre-back numbers in first stint with the Gunners (on a few occasions he was 6 with Adams 5). When he returned he was given the number 14 on the introduction of squad numbers in 1993 and kept it until ’99, when Steve Bould’s departure freed up 5 – one wonders what Thierry Henry, who signed in ’99, might have taken if 14 wasn’t available. Apologies for the picture below by the way, there don’t appear to be too many images showing Keown and Adams for Arsenal with their numbers visible.


Adams was England’s number 6 at Euro ’88 but was frozen out for a period after that and when he became a first-choice again it was alongside Gary Pallister, who had a firm hold on 6. Adams did switch when partnered with Bould against Greece in 1994, but at the turn of the millennium, when Keown was alongside him, they had the opposite of their Arsenal numbers (Seaman included so that the two pics are the same size, in case you’re curious).adamskeown2

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