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Who Will Keep Goal For England?

England have always had a great tradition for goalkeepers, the likes of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton are legends, and David Seaman was dependable for well over a decade and kept goal for his country in four straight major tournaments. However, in recent years, the likes of David James and Paul Robinson have wrestled for the number one shirt with neither putting in outstanding performances. James and Robinson are by far the most experienced goalkeepers England have in their arsenal, with Rob Green and a host of untapped youngsters also vying for position. James started 5 times in World Cup qualifying, with Green in favour most recently starting 4 matches, so there is still a myriad of possibilities for who will be starting in Royal Bafokeng against USA next month. EPL Talk will now look at the contenders who will be knocking on Fabio Capello’s door.

The Probables

Robert Green (West Ham Utd, 30, caps 9)

Like his counterpart James, Green has played in a struggling side all season but in competitive Internationals, Green has recently been Capello’s first choice. Despite good form for his country, the former Norwich stopper would have been disgraced with himself for being the first England goalkeeper to be sent off against Ukraine. His age is an advantage over James, and Capello may feel there is little point in playing James who he knows inside out. Green has kept his labouring West Ham side in matches this season and has the experience in playing in must win games.

David James (Portsmouth, 39, caps 49)

James has had a topsy-turvy season, the devastation caused by Portsmouth’s form on the pitch and finances off the pitch has been diluted by the elation of another FA Cup Final. The man dogged with the moniker “Calamity James” for so long is of course no stranger to a defensive mix up. It was he who brought down Thierry Henry at Euro 2004 and conceded a penalty in a horrific series of events.  However, James has seemingly put his error prone nature to bed over the last few years and is the most experienced keeper in the running for Capello. The Portsmouth man started in goal more than anyone else in qualifying and is ever reliable for his country.

Joe Hart (Manchester City, 23, caps 1)

If Capello does indeed pick his players on form rather than reputation, Hart may as well be sitting on the plane to South Africa as you read this. Hart has been a revelation on loan at Birmingham and has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season. The youngster’s reflexes and confidence in close range situations stand out in his attributes. Not only does he control his box effectively but he is a specialist shot stopper above anything else, something England haven’t had since Seaman. Capello will also no doubt be aware of Hart’s heroics at the u21 Euro 2009 finals. The 23 year old scored and saved a penalty in a penalty shoot-out against Sweden in the semi-finals.

The Possibles

Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers, 30, caps 41)

We all know about that blooper against Croatia, but you can hardly blame him for a bizarre divot in a sub standard pitch. His club manager Sam Allardyce has predictably enough hailed his man as Capello’s number one for the world cup, but Robinson has not appeared in an England shirt in well over two years. Robinson however would look the most likely to be drafted in if any of the above three were injured.

Ben Foster (Manchester United, 27, caps 4)

Ben Foster is always one of the outsiders for an England place, despite being starved of first team football and playing just 12 Premier League games in the last 3 seasons. Foster did indeed start England’s disappointing loss to Brazil in November, and Capello appears to be a fan. Foster also kept a clean sheet in England’s 3-0 demolition of Belarus in qualifying. Any inclusion in the final 23 for Foster would be a surprise though, considering he is effectively third choice for his club and has four goalkeepers in front of him who have both played regular football all season.

Predicted final 23

Green, Hart, James; Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole, Johnson G, Upson, Lescott, Baines, King; Gerrard, Lampard, Barry, Carrick, Lennon, Walcott, Milner, J Cole; Rooney, Crouch, Heskey, Defoe

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  1. Jim

    May 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I can’t think of any England goalie that stands out! Definitely a week spot in the team IMO.

  2. Jon Sharp

    May 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Joe Hart’s presence and confidence for the Blues this season was clearly a big factor in their successful defensive play. I would love to see him do the same for England. I don’t understand why a coach would keep going for experience over form. I notice in American baseball that coaches don’t hesitate to pull someone from the mound when they start pitching lemons no matter how ‘experienced’. Also, they take full advantage of players who are ‘hot’.

  3. Ringo

    May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Hart should be starting in net, no question.

    Swap out Upson or Lescott for Dawson, because he is on far better form than either of them and deserves to be there. Swap out Cole for either Young or Downing, and swap out Heskey for Zamora and you have yourself a solid and deep English squad.

  4. poseidon

    May 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    funny that bottom of the table is where the good goalies are buried under, my choice would be Joe Hart , though experience may be a factor in the later stages ( if england ever makes it so far )

  5. The Gentleman Masher

    May 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Hasn’t Carragher retired from International Play?

    Anyway – if Joe Cole makes it over Ashley Young, that’s just ridiculous. Young plays every game, and has been crucial to Villa’s success. If it’s on form, he gets it over Cole.

  6. Curtis

    May 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

    As an American, I will be most concerned if Hart is in goal. His confidence and control of his box is impeccable. What he has that the other 2 contenders don’t have is strong presence on crosses, and I think that is where we will be strongest.

  7. Matt

    May 10, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I take it you have missed the reports that Jamie Carragher is pretty certain to be in the 23 man squad?

  8. Poker Rakeback

    May 10, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Rob Green will be the Keeper, Joe Hart should be the keeper.

  9. Rob McCluskey

    May 10, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I don’t think Joe Cole will go, being injured all season and a lack of match practice, would be interesting to see if instead Capello goes for the fifth striker

    and I’d like to see David James in nets, Joe Hart doesn’t have experience (although i think he will be number of one choice hopefully after the world cup for the Euro qualifying) and Rob Green is pretty bad, he seems to rely too much on confidence, so when he does make a mistake he just folds completley

    With a keeper like David Seaman, confidence wasn’t an issue, he just knew what he was doing and got on with it, so thats what worries me about Green

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