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Come in number one

Steve Wilson | 09:28 UK time, Friday, 13 February 2009

Assuming England qualify for the next World Cup, the problem position in Fabio Capello's squad is almost certainly going to be goalkeeper.

One of the first things that Capello did as England manager was to restore David James to the starting XI. The Portsmouth stopper started every one of the 11 games since, with Joe Hart, Scott Carson and Robert Green being given one substitute appearance each.

Spain may have put some perspective on England's prospects of actually winning 2010 World Cup, but there's no doubt that, under Capello, England look a much improved side.
However, in those 11 games with Capello at the helm, England have kept only three clean-sheets.

The first of these came against a dreadfully dull United States team at Wembley; the second was in the win over Trinidad and Tobago, who perhaps, because of the sense of occasion in Port of Spain, played like a pub team; the third was against Andorra, who play like a pub team's reserves and have managed just 10 international goals in seven years.

Paul Robinson looks at the ground in disgust after conceding against Croatia

Now, I am not laying the blame for that statistic solely at the goalkeeper's door, but I do worry about going into a World Cup with a first-choice keeper who, by then, will be almost 40 years old. Observers of both the 1990 and 2002 World Cups might say that England were undone by a lack of agility from ageing goalkeepers at the crucial moment and I am really worried that something similar could happen in South Africa.

Peter Shilton was nearly 41 when Andreas Brehme's free-kick looped off Paul Parker into the net in the 1990 semi-final; Dave Seaman was about to turn 39 when Ronaldinho either fluked or curled the winning goal in the quarter-final of 2002. Bad luck in both cases? Maybe. Would a younger keeper have saved them? Maybe.

At the business end of a World Cup, there is simply no margin for error.

At present, there are only seven English goalkeepers in the Premier League who are first picks for their managers. They are Paul Robinson, Matt Duke, Steve Harper, David James, Scott Carson, Robert Green and Chris Kirkland. Harper and Duke are the only uncapped keepers on that list.

You could have included Joe Hart until a couple of weeks ago. But with Shay Given now at Manchester City, Hart's progression is likely to come to an abrupt halt - if he stays at City, of course.

Hart is 21 and best placed to be the number one beyond 2010, but his nervous display on his debut in Trinidad suggests that he is not ready yet.

It may be that a new face emerges in the next 18 months, or even that a goalkeeper from outside the top flight gets a chance. But that seems unlikely. So who are the three to take to South Africa?

If I had to make the choice, I would be carefully reconsidering the claims of Robinson. Any player with 41 England caps and a World Cup Finals under his belt has to be in the frame. Of course, he will always be remembered for that goal in Zagreb. I was commentating at the time and described it as the worst goal England would ever concede. I hope I am right about that. It was truly awful, though not necessarily all his fault.

In the aftermath, Robinson's form crumbled. He kept only seven clean sheets in his next 57 Premier League games. My impression is that at Blackburn he has got his career back on track and, most importantly, has re-built his confidence. At 29, he is in the right age bracket. I hope he is given another chance.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes, James needs to be gotten rid of and Robert Green needs to be given 90 mins vs Slovakia.

  • Comment number 2.

    BEN FOSTER?????

  • Comment number 3.

    We have no really good keepers....

    James can be brilliant.. but we all know he can also throw one in... as for all the others - None of them can even really make a claim as they are all unproven....if they were any good they'd be playing regularly for their clubs rather than being farmed out here there an evreywhere to try and get a game...

  • Comment number 4.

    Mornin' Steve.

    Regarding Paul Robinson. He was a good keeper at Leeds. I put this down to him being number 2 to Nigel Martin - probably the best English keeper that didn't play regularly for England.

    Martin was a superb goalie, even towards the end of his career when he moved to Everton. In that period, England were spoiled for goalkeepers.

    For me experience plays a huge part for goalkeepers, so I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to have one playing into their late 30s. Although I don't think David James is consistent enough to play at a world cup.

    One thing you missed was Steve Harper. With Given gone and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley reluctant to spend in the transfer market, this is Harpers chance to show what he can do.

    Givens move to Man City may be bad news for Hart, but it's a big opportunity for Harper.

  • Comment number 5.

    If Chris Kirkland wasnt so injury prone he would be Englands number 1 by now. I believe, in my humble opinion of course, that Mr Kirkland is the best keeper we have at the this moment in time.

    If Joe Hart moves to another club in the summer – permanent or loan – then he can stake a pretty strong claim for the number one spot.

    The goal keeping position is there for the taking. One thing is for certain though, David James is not good enough and neither is Paul Robinson if you ask me.

  • Comment number 6.

    Rumour has it Manuel Almunia is soon to be eligible for a British Passport, and I believe he commented once how he'd love to play for his adopted country. Top end premier league goalie, with agility, and high level (if not itnernational) experience. Perhaps not a dominant enough personality to control Terry and other headstrong and arrogant defenders, but I'm sure he'd relish the opportunity.

    Ben Foster is another prospect fo the future - although he needs to get a regular spot for a top team.

    Where's a Yashin, Buffon, Schmicael or Shilton when you need one?

  • Comment number 7.

    have you been watching robinson play for blackburn? he seems to get worse every time he plays. if he ever gets back in the england team it'll be a very dark day

    james has started to get more and more sloppy

    ben foster needs to pray that he stays injury free and that he can take over from VDS asap

    rob green looks alright and needs more england games

    scott carson is still unconvincing

    hart needs to move and get regular games

  • Comment number 8.

    umour has it Manuel Almunia is soon to be eligible for a British Passport, and I believe he commented once how he'd love to play for his adopted country
    ........................................................

    Do you realy think they would allow that to happen.. I dont think the english would like the Idear of having to import a spanish guy to stand between the stick's. Remember all the fuss when Sven was apponited the england manager?

  • Comment number 9.

    Observers of both the 1990 and 2002 World Cups might say that England were undone by a lack of agility from ageing goalkeepers at the crucial moment.

    Painfully true observation Steve. I remember Shiltons ''on his heels'' moment like it was yesterday. We were in with a shout at that tournament - so it was hard to watch.
    I am heartened though, by Mr Capello's recent quote to pick the players in form. It is probably true that there was too much loyalty to ageing players in the past. Which makes Becks Italian inspired renaissance at club and country even more remarkable. This despite recent blog comments to the contrary.

    But you are obviously correct in that we don't have a commanding Goalie just now. Lets hope that an English qualified keeper is given a chance and emerges ASAP.

    Good Blog

  • Comment number 10.

    Good Blog.

    I agree that we should be looking elsewhere for a keeper, and to continue with the 'pick players in form' method, I would like to see Chris Kirkland given another spell in goal.

    Having said that, I wouldn't object to Robert Green becoming more permanent in goal.

    On a slight tangent, anyone think Joe Hart might benefit from being number 2 to Shay Given? Do number 2 keepers learn much from the number 1?

  • Comment number 11.

    "Rumour has it Manuel Almunia is soon to be eligible for a British Passport, and I believe he commented once how he'd love to play for his adopted country. Top end premier league goalie, with agility, and high level (if not itnernational) experience. Perhaps not a dominant enough personality to control Terry and other headstrong and arrogant defenders, but I'm sure he'd relish the opportunity."

    England and the other home nations have a 'gentleman's agreement' not to field naturalised citizens with no real link to the country (parent/grandparent, grew up here etc), hence we have avoided the somewhat pathetic practice of a number of European countries of fielding a brazilian - see for example Eduardo da Silva of Croatia, Roger Guerreiro of Poland, Mehmet (Marco) Aurelio of Turkey etc.

    Almunia could acquire citizenship but he wouldn't be selected, and personally I don't think he would merit a selection anyway. Very solid all round keeper, rarely makes mistakes, but never exceptional. He's a safe pair of hands but quite far from being one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with previous posters that Rob Green needs to be given more of a chance. We need to plan ahead and James is not the future. I accept that his form over the last two seasons meant he deserved the shirt- but not this season as he has been poor.

    Until Hart & Foster can get first team games in the Prem then Green is our best shot.

    Maybe Martin O'Neill can take Hart/Foster for next season as Brad must be getting close to getting his bus pass!

  • Comment number 13.

    "At present, there are only six English goalkeepers in the Premier League who are first picks for their managers. They are Paul Robinson, Matt Duke, Steve Harper, David James, Scott Carson, Robert Green and Chris Kirkland"

    hahahaha

  • Comment number 14.

    P.s. Almunia - are you having a laugh? I'd sooner have Manuel off Fawlty Towers in goal!

  • Comment number 15.

    I doubt Almunia will ever be called up to the England squad. Nacho Novo has qualified to play for Scotland, but even they haven't exercised this loophole.

    With regards to Robinson, he started off the season really well, but as post #7 says, his form seems to have tailed off. I don't believe his career is over, but I think other keepers will be given a chance ahead of him if James is dropped before 2010.

    Steve, your point regarding the agility of Shilton and Seaman at the end of thier career is valid but has to be weighed up against what other attributes they bring. Who is to say that if a younger, more inexperienced keeper was in goal instead at these tournaments that we might have been knocked out in the group stages due to a silly error?

    I also don't think that you can say that David James lacks agility. Although, to be fair, we have still got 18 months to go (if we qualify) and James ability could drop off. Let's hope not.

  • Comment number 16.

    Clone Gordon Banks.

    Simple.

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't see a problem. In my view Chris Kirkland is not only the best English keeper, but the best in the Premier League full stop. Go and look at Wigan's goals against column in the past 2 years. The look at the defenders in their squad. The likes of Bramble, Boyce and Melchiot...... hardly well known defensive rocks.

    Some of the saves he makes are sensational. I was at the Emirates early this season to see him almost single handidly keep Arsenal's kids down to three as they tore Wigan apart. He was unbelievable that night. The best goalkeeping performance at the Emirates since it opened, certainly that I can recall.

    He does have this back complaint, but he's missed far fewer games in the past 2 years and for me he'd be the first pick.

    As for Joe Hart. His lack of command of his 6 yard box, let alone 18 yard box, leaves him way short as a potential England keeper.

    Oh and I'm sure Boaz Myhill has been the number one pick for most of the season at Hull ahead of Matt Duke?

  • Comment number 18.

    Everyone is right about shilts in 1990 he was on his heels.HOWEVER I still believe to this day we would havw won the penalty shoot out if Sir Bobby had subbed shilts for Chris Woods in the last 2 mins of extra time.Woods was the best penalty saver of his day and if you can bare to watch a rerun Shilts didn't move for any of the 5 german attempts.

  • Comment number 19.

    A quick comment from a Liverpool fan living in Germany. Is it not conspicuous that three of the listed keepers are ex-Liverpool players. James, Kirkland and Carson? Even Brad Friedel played for us!

  • Comment number 20.

    How old was the Italy captain in 1982, and what position did he play? The problem for me is England's defence, not the age of the goalkeeper.

  • Comment number 21.

    robinson isnt good enough.... its not like the goal he conceded in the international game was the reason for spurs letting him go. his performance was even worse for them. no other keeper has been given more of a chance to succeed at the highest levels of football and failed to make a mark.

    might be silly, but matt duke has impressed me the most, he is still young and should get better. but goal keeping is still the position that benefits the most from experience. james is that, and maybe most importantly we know what we get from him. compared to kirkland, carson who have done nothing to question the choice of starting james.

  • Comment number 22.

    The fact is that all the England keepers in the Prem are at very similar levels in terms of quality. You can probably squeeze a cigarette paper between James, Robinson, Green, Kirkland, Carson, Hart and Foster. They are all 6 out of 10 keepers as things stand.

    So - in my opinion the number one jersey has to go to the man who fills the following credentials the best:

    1) least error prone
    2) least injury prone
    3) right age group (i.e. at his peak or still improving)
    4) good top level experience.

    Unfortunately none of the 'keepers truly fit the bill in all 4 departments, so my shout is Rob Green. Apart from a lack of European and International football I think he's the one that ticks most of the boxes.

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't think David James should be England keeper for 2010, but I don't think he's suffering the same problems with agility that Shilton and Seaman suffered, James is still a very athletic and agile keeper.

    I was really looking forward to Ben Foster staking a claim at Man Utd, he saved Watford from humiliation a number of times when they were in the Premiership. It is incredibly frustrating that he doesn't seem to be given a chance at united, even though Fergie said he would begin to rotate his keepers.

    I think Rob Green or Chris Kirkland are our best bets for the future, and they should really have been given more international games to gain experience. They are the most experienced at Premiership of any of our keepers.

    Scott Carson doesn't seem to be cut out for it, has made a lot of mistakes for West Brom this season. I think Steve McLaren's decision to give him his debut in a make or break match against Croatia has completely destroyed his confidence.

    Simonsen (does he still play for Stoke?) is supposed to be a real talent, but is not proven at high level.

    I think the best thing is to blood either Green or Kirkland in future internationals and drop James. He's never been convincing in an England shirt. There was a grim inevitability when he fumbled that simple looping ball in the first half against Spain. I think 2 good seasons at Portsmouth in a career spanning 20 years is not a good return really. His attitude when he was younger (playing Playstation for 5 hours til 3 in the morning the night before an international) spoilt a lot of his career.

  • Comment number 24.

    foster, plays so well in the UNited reserves, makes some great saves, and will no doubt see more 1st team action as VDS is either saved for Champs LEague games or EPL, surly Foster will get the "other" game during the week. And the way UNited play, should be the way england play, defensively solid enough to put the keeper to sleep, who only gets tested once or twice a game, but is good enough to concentrate for 120 minutes and not fall asleep.

  • Comment number 25.

    shnu09,

    I think Foster is one for the future, but Fergie seems to prefer Kuszcak over him.

  • Comment number 26.

    The next England Keeper will be Lee Grant of Sheffield Wednesday (although he probably wont be a Wednesday player by then).

    He is outstanding on all fronts and even playing in the championship now he deserves a place in the squad.

    But i would say that if foster were to start playing he would take up the role on a full time basis, i cant see that happening tho while he's at Man U.

    James is to error prone and even tho i am a big Carson fan he has lost it completly at West Brom.

  • Comment number 27.

    Almunia becoming the England number one? Ummmm. I don't think he deserves his place as Arsenal number one to be honest. Lehmann was way better a couple of years back. Besides, as far as I know, the Home Nations decided to prevent any foreigner from being selected in the teams. I can't remember who it was because of though - someone from Rangers I believe.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why should Hart's progress come to an abrupt half if he stays at City?
    Wont he learn anything from working day in day out with an experienced and excellent keeper like Shay Given? Plus he's 21, Given is 32, if Hart can improve as he needs to do then he could be a great keeper for City and England. Were you top of your trade at 21 Steve? No, me neither, people like you get these young players thinking they are the finished article, apparently Danny Sturridge is now trying to wring a mega salary out of City when the truth is he is still very young and despite the potential he has the jury is out on how good he will become. The bottom line is Hart is a promising young keeper but has struggled at times, the best thing he could do is get his head down and work, take the opportunities that will almost certainly arise in cups and if Shay gets injured. The "I want it all and I want it now" outlook of young players isnt helped by this type of blog. PS Rob Green is the best bet in the short term and he is improving with age.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think its a bit of a pity that Keiren Westwood got capped for Ireland, I think he would have been an awesome prospect for England. I have a feeling that Ireland only capped him so early so that England didn't get their hands on him.

  • Comment number 30.

    How come nobody has mentioned steve harper from newcastle. The only reason he has never been number one at newcastle is because shay given was incredible. He has all teh attributes to be our number one apart from international experience and you cant get that if you dont play.

    Englands keepers for the world cup should be Harper, Kirkland and Hart. Special mention to ben foster who will be a challenger when VDS eventually steps down.

    As a villa fan i must also mention Stuart Taylor anyone?!!! No? Thought Not!

  • Comment number 31.

    David James should never have been capped again after the France game in Portugal 2004. The only certainty you have with him is his clangers to game ratio (1:1.5). I can't understand why someone as ruthless as Capello who we've seen picks people on form has stuck with him. Home to west Ham, away to Arsenal and 2 of the goals against Liverpool are proof enough that he's an ok Premiership keeper but way way off the International class you need to win tournaments.

    Get Green in, give him a proper go at the job and let him fight it out with Kirkland and Robinson. Until Foster and Hart start getting regular starts, you can rightly exclude both of them.

  • Comment number 32.

    Good read as always, but that list of six keepers was actually a list of seven by the way.

  • Comment number 33.

    It is a problem for England, which is a shame because not so long ago it was looking very promising for keepers. Carson has done himself no favours going to a team that really aren't all that good, and he is going to suffer because of it. Especially if they get relegated. If Joe Hart moves to someone like Villa he will get more first team chances and develop quickly. Also, if you're going to learn from anyone it may as well be someone with quality that Friedel has! Harper may be good, but thats where it ends. He isnt remarkable and is always a number two. James is getting on a bit, is always erratic in an England shirt and will probably be taken to South Africa, but not as first choice. I still think Robinson is a good keeper, but im disapointed that he hasnt re-discovered his form at blackburn. Rob Green is better than West Ham (sorry!) and if he goes to a bigger side it will no doubt aid his chances of getting more international games. He would be my bet for first choice, but he needs to play some games! Almunia is just NO, whichever way you look at it. He isnt English, never will be and on top of that isnt all that anyway.

  • Comment number 34.

    Surprising that nobody has drawn attention to how good Rob Green is at saving penalties - given England's recent history and how the consensus here seems to be that we have quite a few decent keepers, but none who are outstanding, I would have to say his penalty record should edge it in his favour.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ross Turnbull!

  • Comment number 36.

    I think it would be fair to say that the best English 'keeper in the Premier League would be Chris Kirkland. It is no coincidence that Wigan have done so well this season and he has played in a lot of games. He was never really given his best opportunities at Liverpool and had to rebuild his career.

    I think he is only 27? now and could be the keeper for the next 8/10 years or so. Rob Green and Joe Hart should also be considered though now with Hart losing his Number 1 spot he may have to move.

    James is different to Shilton and Seaman in terms of build but things definitely need to be considered for the future.

    Steve. Not all the blame can lie with the goalkeeper though, the defence of England, especially in full-back positions hasn't been settled or great recently.

  • Comment number 37.

    It HAS to be Chris Kirkland, who in my opinion is by far the best English goalkeper available.

    Yes he is injury prone but when fit, he is, hands down the best available.

    To suggest Robinson has gotten better is not true, he is still a liability. Blackburn are pretty poor this season, I suppose it is a tad harsh to put it soley on his shoulders mind.

    Kirkland gets my vote.

  • Comment number 38.

    Robert Green is a poor choice as England keeper! I am aware that stats will tell me he makes more saves than any other keeper but considering he is the West Ham keeper this is not surprising. The problem with Green is that he makes at least one awful error in every game. In a world cup, this error be cost us a goal!
    Kirkland is my preference if he can remain fit.
    Personally, I think we can make it through with James if we have to, our weakest point in the England team is the central midfield area! We need a balance of work rate, tackiling and craft! At present we seem to have players that offer all of one and not enough of the other. Hargreaves is our most complete all round midfielder, hopefully we will see him fit and having a great season next year!

  • Comment number 39.

    for me, we should do exactly as Spain did several years ago. Pick someone young (Hart would be my choice) and stick with him. Accept that he may make mistakes (as Casilas did) but remember that the guy has real talent, and given time will develop into a world class keeper. yes Hart looked nervous on his debut. what do you expect, look at the slating Carson received after the Croatia game! I have seen, for instance, Owen miss pretty easy chances for England, that is a mistake to rival Carsons, but no-one says Owen is not world class. If we do not ease up on the ridiculous criticism we give our players, including the very young, they will never gain the confidence to flourish.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Assuming England qualify for the next world cup...".

    How many chickens were there? Careful, Steve, careful...

  • Comment number 41.

    Maik Taylor was born in Germany and plays for N.Ireland!

    Quality keeper too.

  • Comment number 42.

    Joe Hart

  • Comment number 43.

    No mention of Ben Foster? Whenever he has played for United he has looked very assured and always looks great in the reserves. With a bit more first team football I think he would be a great prospect.

    James and Carson shouldn't be anywhere near the squad. Green or Robinson for now...

  • Comment number 44.

    Joe Hart is a good keeper but lacks a bit of experience. If he develops his craft alongside Given he stands a chance of being one of the greats.....

  • Comment number 45.

    I cannot believe Rob Green has not been given a proper 'crack at the whip'. He has been inspirational for West Ham over the last few years and I can't recall him having a bad game.

    I don't think anyone can doubt his ability and we all know that if any of the Big Four would have signed him from Norwich before the Hammers did, he would be England's regular Number 1.

    I can see no sense in playing David James in the friendly against Spain, surely Capello knows DJ will be hanging his boots up soon.

    Young keepers like Hart and Foster look very good but need a few seasons as number one at their clubs before they can be considered for England.

    With regard to Robinson - I just don't think he's good enough.

    Come on Fabio, lets give Green the chance he deserves!

  • Comment number 46.

    I agree with post #29, I've heard some great things about Keiren Westwood, seems just the right age if not for 2010 then for 2012 and beyond, so it's a shame the Republic of Ireland got there first and gave him a cap with a quick subsitute appearance. He only qualifies for them because he has an Irish grandmother.

  • Comment number 47.

    valladolidman wrote:
    Everyone is right about shilts in 1990 he was on his heels.HOWEVER I still believe to this day we would havw won the penalty shoot out if Sir Bobby had subbed shilts for Chris Woods in the last 2 mins of extra time.Woods was the best penalty saver of his day and if you can bare to watch a rerun Shilts didn't move for any of the 5 german attempts.

    ===============================

    Chris Woods was a great goalkeeper, who's father won the league championship as the goalkeeper for Ipswich Town, who also had one of the best goalkeepers never to have been capped by England, Paul Cooper, who holds the record for most penalty saves.

    Oh yes, Kirkland is without doubt are best long term bet out of the current crop.

  • Comment number 48.

    Lee Grant should definiteley be in with a shout, won POTM for January, hardly any goalies are ever even nominated. Has been consistently brilliant for the owls this season and last season.

  • Comment number 49.

    short compilation of Grant here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHxysLmq6qk

  • Comment number 50.

    Is Carlo Cudicini eligible to play for England? More to the point would he play for England!

  • Comment number 51.

    It's worth noting there is another English goalkeeper who is first choice in the Premier League, and thats Ross Turnbull at Middlesbrough.

    He almost certainly won't be an england keeper by 2010, though he might make the squad, if we avoid relagation and he gets a proper defence next season,

    He's a good goalie, with good command and judgement, however he has been on the bench last tow games with Brad Jones, an Australian, prefered. Brad is an amazing reflex keeper, but has moments of madness when needing to make calls.

    Turnbull though is Middlesbrough No1, and our current woes come primarily from a team that seems inept everywhere else.

  • Comment number 52.

    ben foster may be a good young keeper, but contender for englands number one?

    not for a good few years if he doesn't get a loan in the summer.

  • Comment number 53.

    James is one of my all time favourite keepers, fabulously agile and covers incredible ground across the goal. Robinson is similar to Shilton...great shot stopper at close range, but a tad slow on footwork and explosive power that gets that tiny touch to a ball around the post....James would have got 6" further than Carson and touched that Croatia goal around the post I am sure!

    The problem with James, Green, Carson et al, is that they all play for sides that are under pressure defensively for significant periods of games, so they are "active" throughout the game. James's problems come from a lack of concentration, caused by inactivity over 88 minutes and when you need that magnificent stop....he is just off the pace at international level.

    Thats what made Seaman so good, and the same applies to Van Der Sarr (I know he's not English!! but he is the perfect example having taken the record for clean sheets in the prem) They have absolutely nothing to do for 99% of the game, but they are absolutely on the nail for that one save that is the difference between a 1-0 win and a draw, and that is what wins premierships, champions leagues and world cups.

    James, Green and Foster are my pick of the english Prem keepers, in that order.

  • Comment number 54.

    England had class keepers for years - and won nothing.

    Brazil had poor keepers for years - and won the WC time and time again.

    In other words?

    So long as the outfield are as good as a Brazilian outfield it doesnt matter who you have in goal....

  • Comment number 55.

    Almunia as keeper? No chance.
    In all seriousness, Kelvin Davis at Southampton deserves the call-up. He is far and away the best keeper in the championship, and he had an average (for him) game against united in the fa cup and won motm. If you talk about kirkland performing with a dodgy backline, multiply that by 1000 and we begin to come close to the saints 'defence'.
    He is the only reason we have not already been relegated.
    Granted, the quality of the opposition is nowhere near the same level, but lower-league keepers have been picked in the past (lewis at posh) and he deserves one last shot at the big time.

  • Comment number 56.

    The thing is that it keeps coming back to the same point....people only think goalkeepers are any good when they make loads of saves that turns a 5 - 0 drubbing into a 1 - 0 defeat, or better in the case of Shay Given for Man C last week...

    International Goalkeeping, or top end Prem Goalkeeping is about doing nothing for the whole game except 2 top class saves...occaisionally!!

    Van der Sar....about 1000 consecutive clean sheets wasn't it? I bet he didn't get Man of the Match once....

    We have to find a keeper who can make the concentration levels stay high....maybe in training they should have him stand between the sticks for 90 minutes and just take 2 shots at him in that time at random to aclimatise him!!!

    Kirkland is a definate prospect. I saw him at the Emirates this year. The stuff he stopped in prematch warm up!!! Incredible!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Ben Foster is the best English goalkeeping prospect. I have absolutely no doubts about that. Remember his England debut? It was against a certain team, Spain. He was very composed, in control and pulled off some great stops. The goal he could do nothing about and was more to do with England's incompetence.

    But since then he's been injured for a long time and has only recently come back. He's been understandably shaky recently but I'm sure he'll return to form soon. With a run of games that its. Which he's not going to get as long as Van Der Sar keeps playing ridiculously well. I can't believe I'm saying this but to save his England career Foster needs to leave Man Utd. :(

  • Comment number 58.

    I've always been a big fan of Foster. He was great the one time I saw Watford play live (against Portsmouth). But he really needs to leave Man U as his talent is being wasted. Preferably to Portsmouth. He'd be a good stop-gap betweeen David James and Asmir Bergovic, who apparently is highly rated.

  • Comment number 59.

    Re #47

    Oh those were the days... watching Paul Cooper mess with the heads of penalty takers. Standing off to the left, as if to say "Go on, hit it into that big space... I'll still save it."

    To be honest, I don't rate England's chances of progressing past the group phase of 2010. I think there are too many areas, not just between the sticks, where we're just not ready.

    I'm more worried by the idea that when we DO fail to live up to unreasonable expectations, what that will do to any foundations that might have been laid for 2014.

    Yes, there are some exciting prospects in various positions. The likes of Agbonlahore, Hart, Richards, Walcott and Young are probably already pencilled in as the basis of that squad, but who will coach them? Can you imagine Capello will hang around once the daily rags start looking for their scapegoats?

  • Comment number 60.

    Rob Green. By a mile!

  • Comment number 61.

    my picks for 2010 would be Harper, Green and kirkland, that might change by 2010 if Foster start playing again and avoides any more serious injurys, thats the reason Fergies been play kuzach cause Fosters been injured, im a general football fan and take intrest of most teams, but i think harper needs to be given a friendly as he is as good as given, apart from maybe shot stopping in which given is the best in the premier league
    Well thats my take :)

  • Comment number 62.

    Green is no thrills and no spills. That's all you want and need in an England keeper.

    If you want a guy to save penalties too he's the best in Europe behind Pepe Reina!

  • Comment number 63.

    Kirkland is (and has been for a few years) head and shoulders the best English keeper, sadly injuries have let him down.

    If he hed been injury free he would probably have gained 40+ caps by now and would still be first choice at Liverpool, luckily for us in Wigan he isn't and instead is the rock that our team is based on.

  • Comment number 64.

    The gentleman's agreement between the UK nations is about Scotland not selecting an Englishman who has no links to Scotland other than being a UK passport holder. I'd imagine people who qualifiy as English from other countries would be fair game.

    Anyway, the point which is often missed when discussing English keepers is questioning how all these overseas keepers have ended up in the Premiership.

    Reina, for instance, started his career playing in the lower Spanish leagues, before being given the chance with the Barcelona first team. Almunia similarly started his career playing for a B team, before moving to a bigger club.

    In England, we have the attitude that players must be in the Premiership if they want an international career. Joe Hart will develop more by playing for a Championship side next season rather than Man City (well, he could do both, of course). We've got a very strong division in the Championship and need to be doing more to encourage our younger players to have a season or two down there learning their trade, rather than sitting on the bench in the Premiership. Similarly, teams should be prepared to look in the Championship for top clash players rather than looking overseas.

    After-all, Everton's recent success has been based on signing the likes of Cahill and Lescott who had never played a Premiership game and now are the envy of many top sides.

    If we want good English goalkeepers, we need to chance the definition of what a good English goalkeeper is. The number playing regularly in the Premiership is irrelevant really, its the number on a career ladder which can see they develop is important. Setting the career ladder to curb the development of Championship keepers is not going to see us generate strong competition in the England squad.

  • Comment number 65.

    At the end of the day, the best keeper is Rob Green. FACT!

  • Comment number 66.

    Does it really matter.
    It will once again be a case of so close yet so far away.

  • Comment number 67.

    Arthur Wharton. Cracking keeper in his day, he used to swing from the cross bar.

  • Comment number 68.

    there was a man from wirral
    who looked like a squirrel
    his paragraphs were long
    nobody read them, right or wrong
    he left in a car
    and returned in a bus
    one feather short of a pillow
    he signed his birth crtificate Dave
    but his name is Cyril

  • Comment number 69.

    Not sure of the actual stats but I`m sure I read somewhere once that Rob Green has a fantastic record of penalty saves. Surely a must on Englands record of participating in penalty shoot outs. Rob Green the man for me.

 

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