Being England number 1 has always been an honour and as England head to Russia in the summer there is still plenty of debate about who should be in goal. Some would argue that England has not had a top-class keeper since David Seaman and even he made plenty of mistakes for the Three Lions. Here are the contenders for that starting place against Tunisia on the 18th June.
Joe Hart loan move to West Ham has turned into a disaster as he has found himself on the bench to Adrian. Joe Hart, who has 75 England caps, had been unimpressive in the early weeks of the season and struggled as the Hammer struggled. His lack of game time and form will be concerning for England manager Gareth Southgate. His poor form has seen Pep Guardiola justified to have let him go from Manchester City. Southgate has always been an advocate of Hart due to his experience and leadership qualities. However, Hart made 2 very high profile errors at Euro 2016 and it may mean that another keeper is given an opportunity.
Butland made a high profile error against Leicester at Saturday lunchtime but then made a quality save to atone for his mistake. . Butland is widely seen as the heir apparent to Joe Hart and he has also been linked with moves to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively. The issues that Butland has had is he has been quite injury prone and also he does not have any European experience. He does, however, have the experience of playing for team GB at the Olympics in 2012 . He will be hoping that Southgate allows him a chance to prove himself in upcoming friendlies. With Stoke in a relegation fight the pressure will be on Butland to show he can deal with high stake matches. Southgate is one for giving young players a chance and so Butland may get a chance to perform at the biggest tournament in the World.
When Jordan Pickford made his summer move to Everton for £30m everyone felt Everton were buying a future England number one. However, since his move his form has followed the team’s and he has been indifferent. He has been criticised for parrying shots into danger and also lacking a presence. A big problem for Pickford has been the constantly changing defence in front of him and also the ageing of players likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams. It may take him more time to settle into Goodison Park and he does have time on his side. I suspect that he will go to Russia as the number 3 goalkeeper and it will be good experience. He must learn from this year’s struggles and use it to improve.
Southgate has already laid the groundwork that Butland is likely to overtake Hart Southgate will be hoping that his goalkeeper is ready and we do not see another Rob Green debacle.