The race to be England's number one has rumbled on for some time. Many would argue that the Three Lions have been searching for a trusted keeper for the past two decades with the likes of David Seaman, David James, Scott Carson and Robert Green all having a fair crack in time gone by, before disappearing into the abyss. England have always had strong options but never seemed settled on one starter between the sticks. As the 2018 World Cup approaches in Russia, Gareth Southgate finds himself in a similar predicament with a reliable goalkeeper high on the list of priorities.
It is an opportunity which presents itself like no other. It is often depicted as a cursed position in an England jersey, one of which multiple candidates have had the chance to grasp their chance with both hands, but instead let is slip through their fingers. Buy your England tickets now and see who gets the nod at Wembley against Slovenia on Thursday with Club Wembley VIP and Bobby Moore Suite hospitality options available.
There is a list of three or four possible candidates fighting for the number one spot and each will be hoping to grasp their opportunity with both hands if they get the nod and steer clear of the ever-present high profile clanger that appears to hang over England goalkeepers at major tournaments. David Seaman and the infamous Ronaldinho lob at the 2002 World Cup, Robert Green’s howler against USA at the 2010 World Cup and who could forget, Joe Hart’s clanger against Iceland at Euro 2016. The list goes on, but could the tide be about to change?
There is no doubting the ability and talent that England have in terms of their goalkeeping options. Whoever gets the nod, Gareth Southgate and his staff have a tough decision to make so here at Football Ticket Pad we are going to take a look at each of the possible candidates. Can Joe Hart salvage his England career, does Jack Butland deserve his chance or does Southgate plunge for the talented but inexperienced Jordan Pickford? Find out below:
Joe Hart: The most experienced option at Southgate’s disposal but the 30 year-old must be looking over his shoulder. He offers invaluable experience with his 71 caps but it has been a tough couple of years for Hart following Euro 2016. Axed by Guardiola at City, a unfulfilling loan spell in Serie A with Torino followed before being shipped to West Ham this season looking to rebuild a damaged reputation. He is a real leader, but his best years appear to be behind him in terms of being England’s first choice stopper. He needs a strong season at West Ham if he is to retain the number one jersey for another major championship.
Jack Butland: The Stoke goalkeeper has been knocking on the door for some time now and he is a real contender to be an England regular. He was cruelly ruled out of Euro 2016 with a broken ankle and he will be desperate to make up for lost time at the World Cup this summer. He has looked assured following his injury setback and certainly has a bright future for England. A popular choice. A six foot five he looks the part and his performances reflect that so far this season. Will have a chance to lay a marker down against both Slovenia and Lithuania.
Fraser Forster: Recalled to the squad following the injury to Tom Heaton, the Southampton stopper was overlooked by Southgate in October for matches against Malta and Slovakia. Forster will be hoping to have a chance to stake a claim in the final two qualifiers before Russia. The 29 year-old has often been an understudy to Hart since making his debut in November 2013 and has been around the national side for some time despite only making six appearances for the Three Lions. He has an outside chance of being the England No.1, but needs something special if he is to work his way up the pecking order.
Jordan Pickford: There is no denying the Everton stopper’s talent, however his lack of international experience is what overrides his chances right now. Russia 2018 may be too soon for Pickford to really challenge the number one spot, he may have to wait for his chance. The £30 million man has fantastic ability with pinpoint distribution, a first England cap isn’t far away.
Left out of the upcoming qualifiers, England have also got the likes of Tom Heaton, ruled out by injury, and Ben Foster in their ranks. Both have been around the England circuit for some time and if they continue to impress over the course of the 2017/18 season they may be in with a chance. I wouldn’t be booking any summer holidays just yet lads.
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