ENGLAND GK DILEMMA: WHO SHOULD START IN GOAL FOR THE THREE LIONS AT EURO 2021
Before every major tournament, millions of English football fans fiercely debate who should play in each position for the Three Lions.
One of the most hotly contested positions is goalkeeper, as only one man can take it, and to be honest, there is no real standout from this current crop of players.
So, let us look at the four goalkeepers who are battling it out for the number one shirt.
Despite his current injury meaning he has had to miss this International break, it is fair to say Jordan Pickford is probably the favourite to take the number one shirt for the upcoming Euros. Pickford made his senior England debut in 2017 against Germany in a 0-0 draw, before establishing himself as the number one going into the 2018 World Cup, as he overtook both Joe Hart and Tom Heaton. The Everton man became a national hero as he saved Carlos Bacca’s penalty and helped England win their first ever World Cup penalty shootout and continuing the Three Lions magnificent run. While never really letting England down, his club form has been inconsistent, which has led to people doubting whether Pickford is the man to trust in between the sticks.
Nick Pope’s rise to becoming one of England’s top goalkeepers came almost out of nowhere. Signed by Burnley after just breaking through into the Charlton team, Pope stepped in for an injured Tom Heaton and never looked back. While injury and Heaton’s form kept him out of the 18/19 season, the former Charlton man played every minute of the Clarets 19/20 Premier League season and came so close to winning the Golden Glove award, losing it on the last day. This season, he has been one of the bright spots for Burnley, with an especially impressive save percentage of 77.7%, which is only bettered by Ederson and Emi Martinez. Pope has only made five appearances for England and while he is yet to concede, his lack of experience against the top International teams may lead to Southgate keeping him as the deputy ‘keeper.
It has been a good last few months for Dean Henderson, as the inconsistent form of David De Gea has led to the Englishman getting a chance for Manchester United after two impressive loan spells at Sheffield United. Henderson has certainly taken his chance well, showing himself to be a reliable man in between the sticks and keeping the experienced Spaniard out of the starting eleven. Having come through the England youth system, playing for the u16s, u17s, u20s, and u21, Henderson has experience of representing England and he has one senior cap to his name, playing a half in the 3-0 win against the Republic of Ireland. This may be one major tournament too soon for Henderson, as Southgate may opt for his more experienced options, but there is no doubt that he will soon be a mainstay in the England squads.
Having made the most saves in the Premier League this season, Sam Johnstone has certainly earned his chance with the Three Lions, which came after Pickford was ruled out of this most recent squad due to injury. Playing in a relegation battling West Brom team, Johnstone has been a highlight for the Baggies, and is one of the main reasons as to why they still have a slight chance of escaping the drop. Having spent years out on loan from Manchester United, a year and a half spell at Aston Villa earned Johnstone a move to West Brom, where he helped them achieve promotion to the Premier League last season. He does have some England youth team experience, playing for the u16s, u17s, u19s and u20s, but has yet to make a senior appearance. If all of the aforementioned goalkeepers are fit, then it is hard to see Johnstone going to the Euros, but after such an impressive season, a summer move to stay in the Premier League could make Johnstone a real contender for a regular England call-up.