World Cup countdown – Which keepers will go?

by Wally Downes

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

The Chosen Few

Every football fan with access to the Internet and the will power to avert their eyes, for five minutes, from the bounty of pornography available has chipped in with their version 23-man World Cup squad and I am no different. I will break it down into segments, to allow you enough time to YouTube ‘Gordon Brown Disaster’ afterwards. Goalkeeping up first.


David James, Robert Green, Joe Hart

It would be easy to point to the league positions of the employers of my first and second choice keepers, David James and Robert Green, but it is clear to anyone that has seen their fair share of Premiership action this year that not only have these two equipped themselves exceptionally well but they have also got an awful lot of practice in. Under immense pressure each week, both behind shakey defences and in team’s short of strikers able to force the onus onto their opposing number James and Green’s only major stumbling block might be the physical and mental toll that the 2009-10 season has taken on them.

Joe Hart has been a stand out success story this season and his worth has been highlighted this week by billionaire employer Manchester City’s desperate attempt to bring him back from his loan spell at Birmingham, to salvage their challenge for Champions League football. Hart has missed just two of Brum’s 36 league games this year and at just 23 he is a shining prospect for England and whichever domestic side is lucky enough to secure his future services. This World Cup, however, has come to early for the youngster to be a serious contender for the number one jersey. Experience is such a vital element and it has proven itself so many times this season in the Premier League, look how Arsenal have suffered in the absence of Jens Lehmann and how the top clubs flourish with a mature head in the sticks. Hart is the only keeper in the top ten sides to be under 25 and has 15 years to reach the level of some one like veteran Edwin van der Sar. This tournament will give Hart invaluable experience and stand him in good stead for the future six or seven tournaments he could feature in for England in the future.

Ben Foster helped Watford to the Premiership back in ’05-06 and far from disgraced himself in the season after when the Hornets suffered relegation. Four teams had conceded the same or more amount of goals in the league that season and in the 33 games, in total, that Foster played he conceded a respectable 27. However he is now 27 and has played just 127 competitive club matches. He has been besieged by injury and overlooked at Manchester United, with David James’ career coming to a crescendo he may still climb the pecking order but he needs two or three quality seasons.

Chris Kirkland’s tale is a similar one, made his professional debut in 1997 and followed that up shortly with an England cap but in all that time he has amassed just 215 club appearances. He has had a fine season with Wigan this term but its not enough to warrant him a place on that plane.

There you have it, replies are welcomed.

Next up is England defenders….. easy?!?!

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  • World Cup fan

    The goalkeepers are a bit of a no-brainer. Three worth taking, three spots to fill. The only decision would be taking a major gamble and only selecting two, but know one is going to do that…

  • W.A.

    We definitely need 3 goalkeepers, just in case. Unless Fabio takes a call from Neil Warnock and opts to take Phil Jagielka as cover instead.

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