Ahead of the World Cup in Russia, it is still fairly unclear as to who Gareth Southgate will hand the number one jersey to. We take a look at who could be in between the sticks, and their potential impact on England’s progress.
The Everton goalkeeper was given a huge boost in last month’s international friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy by being named as the number one goalkeeper for the first game; usually the one that includes a stronger team.
Signed for £30 million by Ronald Koeman in the summer, the ex-Sunderland keeper has been a rare shining light in what has been a disappointing campaign for the blue half of Merseyside.
Pickford’s shot stopping is unquestionably one of his main assets but where he may the get the nod over his rivals is his distribution from the back.
The 24-year-old is very adept when putting boot to ball and can be regularly seen delivering accurate, raking passes from inside his own box.
Widely accepted as perhaps the safest option for the World Cup, despite having only two senior caps to his name, Pickford is the most likely candidate to hopefully help England keep a clean sheet when they take on Tunisia on June 18.
England to win to nil v Tunisia – 21/20 – BET NOW
Unlike Pickford, Butland does have some experience of tournament football, albeit as a third-choice goalkeeper when he was handed a shock call up to the Euro 2012 squad in the infancy of his career.
It has been a frustrating couple of years for the Stoke stopper, who at one stage early on in his career was regarded as the natural successor to Joe Hart after impressing at England youth level and for his club.
However, things have unravelled slightly for him recently, starting with a fractured ankle that resulted in him being ruled out of Euro 2016.
He spent a year on the sidelines before returning and has picked the ball out of his net on more occasions than he’d like with the Potters’ ramshackle defence being the leakiest in the Premier League.
There’s no doubt Butland is just as talented as Pickford, but being involved in a relegation scrap might count against him.
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Talk about grabbing your opportunity with both hands, Nick Pope has propelled himself to Three Lions contention out of absolutely nowhere.
This is the goalkeeper who couldn’t get on Burnley’s bench last season with ex England man Paul Robinson being number two behind current England man Tom Heaton in the pecking order.
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A shoulder injury suffered by Heaton in September thrust Pope into action and he is has proven more than capable in helping Burnley to seventh.
Pope was called up to March’s friendlies but didn’t figure and may have to settle for being second or third choice.
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