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English goalkeeping is as competitive as it has ever been

Thursday 29th June 2017
England's national football team might be the most maligned outfit in sport. For such a talented side with an incredibly rich history, they struggle massively in major competitions and have not been close to lifting any sort of trophy in the past few decades. For the fans and the players, it has been an unforgiving spell. 

The current crop of youngsters are threatening to buck this trend though and with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Adam Lallana in the side, there is real hope for England again. The Three Lions finally seem to be building towards something under Gareth Southgate.

The idea that England are building towards something is very true in the younger teams too. The Under-20's team won the World Cup while the under-21's made it to the semi-finals of the European Championships. While the senior team has struggled, it seems as though the up and coming generation is building on some success.

One such area that England is very strong is in their goalkeeping options. At the moment they have no less than five extremely talented stoppers. To say that Fraser Forster, a very good goalkeeper in his own right, is the weakest out of the five right now is a testament to their ability.

Joe Hart, Jack Butland, Tom Heaton and Jordan Pickford make up the rest of the group and England can boast one of the best collections of goalkeepers in football today.

Butland is widely tipped to be the next long-term goalkeeping soloution for England. The Stoke man was only able to play a handful of games in the season just gone as he was recovering from an ankle injury. He did keep two clean sheets in five games though and looked very commanding upon his return. Had it not been for his injury then he would have likely been the subject to a lot more interest this summer.

Jordan Pickford is the newest of the five and he was subject to a massive bid from Everton. The transfer from Sunderland coast the Toffees £30 million which is a record for an English goalkeeper meaning he has a lot of pressure on his young shoulders.

He was the starting goalkeeper in the Under-21's campaign this summer and he was widely regarded as the standout goalkeeper of the tournament. Indeed, in the penalty shoot-out against Germany he was close to saving almost every single penalty. His performances throughout the campaign both with Sunderland and England warranted a hefty price-tag, but is his worth £30 million? Only time will tell.

Tom Heaton was another that was outstanding across the campaign as he led his Burnley side to safety. The lasting memory of Heaton was his performance against Manchester United as he singlehandedly earned a point for his side with his starfish save from Zlatan Ibrahimovic the moment of the game.

Joe Hart is the final goalkeeper and the current number one. Of course, he has received a lot of criticism over the last few years and some seem to think his time at the top is coming to an end. Even with a season away from English football, Hart is still a top quality goalkeeper that has the ability to pull off the incredible.

As they are all very talented players they will likely come under a lot of pressure and they will have to shoulder criticism too. The best example of this is Hart as he has been the subject of a lot of flack in recent weeks for his performances.

Ultimately, any English player will have to put up with some fans and critics negative comments as there are so many other talented individuals that could potentially take their place. That is the beauty of having such a large pool of quality talent.

The goalkeepers will have to stay at the top of their game if they are to maintain their place in the squad, with only three places for five fantastic talents.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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