Who will be England’s goalkeeper at World Cup 2018?
Gareth Southgate is set to name his 23-man England squad for World Cup 2018 in Russia on Wednesday 16 May.
The England manager has made a bold decision four weeks before the tournament kicks off and even before the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea.
Whilst there are a number of decisions to be made over a number of players in a number of positions, the most intriguing one among supporters is who the first choice goalkeeper is going to be over the summer.
Joe Hart had been England’s regular first choice up until late last year after a notable dip in form over the past year or so.
In fact, the 31-year-old only made 19 Premier League starts whilst on loan at West Ham United this past season – ultimately losing his place to Adrian following a string of poor performances.
However, bookmakers Betfair believe that Hart will be part of Southgate’s squad as they have priced him at 8/13 to make the cut. Anyone looking to bet on the World Cup 2018 might see that as a good price given his experience – he may well simply go as the third choice.
That’s because England lack any other experienced goalkeepers. The two that appear to be battling it out for the starting role in England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday 18, June have just nine caps between them – Jack Butland (7) and Jordan Pickford (2).
England’s number one certainly looks set to be between these two as Gareth Southgate gave them each a start in the Three Lions’ two friendlies back in March. Who will get the nod still remains to be seen.
Betfair have given both odds of 1/50 to make the squad – the shortest odds of any players.
Stoke City’s Butland may have the edge as he has earned more caps than Everton’s Pickford. However, there are two friendlies at the start of June that may either make Southgate’s mind up or which the manager may reveal who the first choice is.
Football stat man Barrie’s View ran a poll over the weekend asking fans who they want to see between the sticks in Russia this summer. From 149 votes Jordan Pickford was the clear winner with 46% of the vote, ahead of Jack Butland with 30%.
Interestingly, Burnley’s Nick Pope took 19% of the vote. However, the 26-year-old looks set to miss out due to a lack of experience. The Clarets’ stopper only has one season of Premier League football behind him and doesn’t have a single international appearance to his name.