England goalkeepers of recent years have been remembered purely on their appalling displays between the sticks for their country.
Rob Green, Paul Robinson, and Scott Carson are just three of the many who have become laughing stocks to the nation over the past couple of decades. However, when Joe Hart made a name for himself at Manchester City, England’s recent history of poor goalkeepers looked to have come to a much-needed end.
That was the case for a couple of years. Hart was mister reliable in the net, and under Roy Hodgson, was his number-one choice on a regular basis.
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Although failing to prevent upset during Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup respectively, the Man City man was tipped to change that during this year’s European Championship.
However, that wasn’t the case.
Against Russia, although Hart wasn’t at major fault for the equaliser, he should have done better. When Vasili Berezutski looped his header into the net, he could only stand and watch, not even a minor attempt to keep it out.
It got worse for Hart when England faced Wales five days later. Gareth Bale’s speculative effort from a free-kick was undoubtedly savable; especially for someone of his calibre, however, again, Hart was easily beaten.
The nightmare was complete when Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s decisive strike to send England packing was set on a plate for Hart to get at least a hand to. The midfielder’s side-footed effort, which seemed more like a pass, was somehow too hot for the ‘keeper to handle.
Euro 2016 showed us that the England side must change over the coming months as they aim to qualify for the World Cup. However, a position that seems to have been left unnoticed and needs to be considered is the man between the sticks, and the Lions definitely have alternative options that new boss Sam Allardyce must assess.
One of Roy Hodgson’s many flaws was the fact he failed to test the ability of Fraser Forster and Jack Butland during international friendlies to see how they fared. Instead, playing it safe, he chose Hart on a regular basis, reluctant to test other options. This is something Allardyce must change.
When returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines last season, Forster was a bright spark for Southampton. Ahead of their clash with Chelsea in February, the shot-stopper was on a six-game clean sheet run, making 23 saves, whilst failing to concede a goal in 708 minutes of football.
Forster is a well-built keeper and at 2.01m tall, one that England very much need between the posts. Not afraid to really put his body on the line, the Saints man will work wonders under Allardyce if given the chance.
As for Butland, he kept 10 clean sheets for Stoke City last season, and at 23-years-old, still has a lot to prove. An Injury prevented the 6ft ‘keeper from travelling to France this summer, but alike Forster, should be given a chance under the new England coach.
Allardyce must consider these two options as they aim to qualify for the World Cup, because you never know, one of them could just be the man England have been calling out for.
Does Joe Hart need dropping for England? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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