(Originally posted October 9th 2013)
As England go into two vital qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland there’s no way we can be optimistic, with England being England some problem has to be thrown into the mix. Let’s have a Goalkeeping crisis.
England have always had good Goalkeepers that were prone to the mistake. Whether that be Seaman’s failure to jump against Brazil in 2002, “Calamity” (David) James in general, Paul Robinson’s gaffe prone Euro 2008 qualifying debacle , Scott Carson vs Croatia and Robert Green who was just one big mistake. Along with a few more, I could be here all day and I didn’t even mention Peter Bonetti…
Joe Hart looked like the answer to our problems. A surprise inclusion to the 2010 World Cup squad and 3rd choice behind Green and James it seemed he’d be waiting a while for this chance, but when Green ended his England career with “that” mistake in the opening game against America and David James being 37, Hart became England’s number 1 about a Month later. Everything seemed fine, England were unbeaten in Euro 2012 qualifying, conceding just 5 goals and despite another “crisis” (this time of the Managerial variety) England were alright. A relatively successful Euro 2012 was followed by a so far average World Cup qualifying campaign and with Hart deciding to forget how to make a save, Hodgson has a decision to make after giving Hart the dreaded vote of confidence. If Hart makes way, who will come in then?
John Ruddy: Probably England’s number 2 at the moment. He would’ve had a spot on the plane for Euro 2012 if he didn’t break his finger, has just the one cap to his name at age 26, came on as a second half sub in a 2-1 friendly win over Italy, keeping a Clean Sheet in the 45 minutes he played after Butland conceded in the first half. Solid start.
Fraser Forster: Not yet capped at any level on the International scene, however consistently strong performances for Celtic, most notably that famous 2-1 win over Barcelona gets him high on a lot of people’s billing as stiff competition for Hart.
Jack Butland: It takes a brave man to call where abouts Butland fits into Hodgson’s England set up. A regular feature in every England age group going along with a place on the plane at Euro 2012, being Number 1 at the 2012 Olympics and 1 Senior cap. Also, being just 20, the world is at his feet, or hands, if you will, so he has plenty of time to get up the pecking order. The only thing holding Butland back right now is that he’s back in the Championship on loan at Barnsley having failed to beat Begovic to get in Stoke’s starting 11. With Begovic possibly leaving The Britannia soon though, expect Butland to be a Premiership regular in the near future.
Hodgson is likely to go with Hart just on the pure scale of these 2 games which, if they go wrong, will probably cost Roy his job so he’d like to have an experienced pro in between the sticks. Should Joe Hart have another dodgy spell though then Ruddy, Forster and Butland will be chomping at the bit to get the nod.