Can you feel the excitement in the air? The world’s greatest tournament is just over a week away and the best players on the planet are on their way to Russia. As always, England will be present at the World Cup, however, this time around there is a fathomable sense of optimism around the nation’s fortunes.
Gareth Southgate’s tenure has breathed a new lease of life into the England set-up as he’s shaken up the status quo and picked players based upon merit, not status. His decisions pertaining to the goalkeeping situation have also created quite a stir.
So, who should be England’s no.1 keeper at the World Cup? Let’s see.
Joe Hart made his England debut in 2008 and for close to nine years, he was his nation’s best keeper. Since then, he’s gone on to represent his country 75 times at senior level, having already appeared 27 times as a youth player. However, in recent seasons, Hart has fallen down the pecking order with Pep Guardiola unceremoniously showing him the door at Manchester City.
The former Shrewsbury keeper was shafted out on loan and with that, his reputation took a massive dent. Last season, Hart managed to stay in the Premier League with West Ham where he quickly established himself as David Moyes’ go-to man.
Alas, what was meant to be a career resurgence turned out to be the worst thing possible for the 31-year-old. His form took a turn for the worse and with that, Gareth Southgate opted not to select him for the World Cup.
Instead, the 46-year-old has chosen Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Jack Butland as his three World Cup keepers.
It was this pick that firmly pushed Joe Hart out of World Cup contention. The 26-year-old Burnley keeper is perhaps the wildcard pick of the squad, but his exceptional performances under Sean Dyche perhaps made this a no-brainer for Southgate. In 35 league appearances, the Burnley keeper kept 10 clean sheets, averaging 2.57 saves per game.