London (AFP) – David Seaman wants England manager Gareth Southgate to retain Joe Hart as his first-choice goalkeeper for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Hart is set to equal former England ‘keeper Seaman’s mark of 75 caps if he plays against either Germany or Brazil in next month’s friendly internationals.
Now with West Ham United, Hart’s grip on the England jersey has looked less assured in recent times following some high-profile errors.
But while the likes of Southampton’s Fraser Forster, Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Everton’s Jordan Pickford are all challenging for Hart’s spot, none has yet emerged as an obvious alternative to the former Manchester City star.
And Seaman, England’s ‘keeper when they last reached the semi-finals of a major tournament at Euro 96, believes Hart remains ahead of the chasing pack.
“I would stay with Joe. For me Joe is still England’s number one,” Seaman told reporters ahead of the FIFA Best football awards ceremony in London on Monday.
“The level he’s played at for a long time is really good. Now the other guys are getting closer. That will push him.
“I had the same situation when I was with England. I knew the other goalkeepers were getting closer, it just made me try and train a little bit harder and try to play better.”
As for all those vying for Hart’s position, Arsenal great Seaman said: “Pickford has moved to Everton and they’re having a bad time at the moment.
“You look at the others like Forster, they’re there or thereabouts but it’s a big step from where they are at club level to playing for England.
“There are two friendlies coming up now so ideally they’ll get a chance because if anything does happen to Joe, you don’t want to be chucking someone in.”
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