How fitting for the name Cuthbert Ottaway to be included in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography just as the World Cup was getting under way.

Precious few people will know that Cuthbert was the first man to captain the England football team, and even fewer would know that he did it while he was studying classics at Brasenose College.

And then to find he opened the batting for England, with one W.G.Grace standing down the other end, scoring a century at Lord’s on the same day he collected his degree at the Sheldonian.

How awful that this remarkable man lay for decades forgotten in a neglected grave in a cemetery near Paddington Station, which the FA has thankfully had restored.

Ottaway, who died in 1878 aged just 27, belonged to a different age from the modern millionaire celebrity England players.

But in just four short years he established himself as not merely one of Oxford’s, but the nation’s great sporting heroes. Sporting fame can be fleeting but let’s hope Ottaway’s place in history is now more secure than England’s place in the World Cup looks this morning.