Indeed, almost every World Cup winning team has had a fantastic goalkeeper behind the ten outfield players. In 2006, Gianluigi Buffon of Italy was one of the players of the tournament.
In previous World Cups, the question of who was going to play between the sticks for England was never an issue. The country has been blessed with good quality goalkeepers—from Gordon Banks to Peter Shilton.
But this time, there is no perfect choice for manager Fabio Capello.
The choice seems to be between West Ham’s Robert Green and Portsmouth’s David James. Green has endured a turbulent season at Upton Park, conceding 62 goals in the 36 league games he has played in. True, the defence in front of him haven’t given him the best of protection, but is that the kind of form that earns you the number one jersey? The unfortunate truth though is that Capello is unlikely to change the team that qualified for the tournament—meaning Green should get the nod in front of the more experienced James.
‘Calamity’ James, as he was once known, has matured with age like the clichéd fine wine. But it’s still not clear whether Capello trusts James’ eccentricity not to rear its ugly head again—or his 39-year-old body not to snap under the tension of a major tournament after a long season. Like Green, James has had plenty of balls to save this season—and hasn’t done particularly well.
Those two are a shoe-in. The third goalkeeping position is arguably up-for-grabs, but whoever it is, they are not likely to get a look in. Taking three goalkeepers is part of the FIFA regulations for the tournament, so England couldn’t take an extra midfielder for example, in the unlikely event that Capello would want to.
Joe Hart is still young but has had an excellent season at Birmingham City, while Paul Robinson has regained some kind of consistency at Blackburn. Robinson will still have hope of forcing his way into the squad, but realistically Hart would be a sound choice. It would also be an excellent medium-term choice, looking ahead to Euro 2012 and the next World Cup in 2014, where Hart will be the favourite to grab the number one jersey.
The goalkeeping position is one of the most important on the football pitch. But England’s options are uninspiring. Unfortunately for Capello, Banks and Shilton are likely to be unavailable for selection.
The Linc has chosen to take Robert Green, David James and Joe Hart to South Africa. What do you think?Tweet