England’s first choice keeper Joe Hart has welcomed West Brom stopper Ben Foster back into the international fold.
The former-United keeper has came out of international retirement for the World Cup qualifier double header with San Marino and Montenegro.
Manchester City keeper Hart has been undisputed number one for the Three Lions for the last past couple of years. However, should he still be England first choice keeper?
Hart told Sky Sports: “It’s great to see Ben. He is a consistent performer, someone I get on well with.
“It’s good to have keepers like that around. There are three top quality keepers here plus Jack Butland and John Ruddy, and everywhere you look there is good talent. Is Foster good enough to push me? Yes, but I’ve felt that every time I’ve come away with England.
“My job when I was first involved was to really push hard. We all train like we are going to play and push each other and it’s really good. If any one of the three played, then we’d be in a strong position.
“I’m in that privileged spot at the moment. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do, I love it, I’ll keep working and training hard if there are no keepers or 1,000 keepers”.
This season Joe Hart has experienced his first real dip in form in the City and England goal. This dip in form has coincided with Manchester City’s defence not looking as solid as last season.
Every player goes through a dip in form occasionally and Hart just seems to be going through that dip at the moment. If the keepers available to England boss Roy Hodgson were picked on current form, would Hart be starting the San Marino? I really don’t think so.
England now has a very decent group of goalkeepers in and around the squad. As well as Foster and Hart England also have the likes of Fraser Forster, John Ruddy and under-21 keeper Jack Butland to pick from.
Ruddy is currently recovering from injury, but is expected to be back in action in the next month. Ruddy’s form for Norwich has been very consistent since his move from Everton 2010.
When he joined the Toffee’s he was one of the most highly-rated young keepers in the country, but after just one appearance in five years at Goodison Park and a number of loan moves decided to seek first team football elsewhere.
Ruddy is maturing into a very dependable keeper and despite his recent injury problems should continue to grow as a keeper.
Butland hasn’t been in the best of form in recent months, but is highly-rated and will be moving to the Premier League with Stoke from Birmingham in the summer. Butland is regarded as the best future alternative to Hart by some.
At 20 Butland looks to have a bright future ahead of him and playing in the Premier League with Stoke next season should aide his development as a keeper. The youngster has dropped down into the under-21 squad after making his full England debut against Italy.
Celtic keeper Fraser Forster is forging a very good reputation for himself as a very dependable keeper. His three year-spell as the Hoops number one has turned him from unknown backup keeper at Newcastle to one of the most talked about keepers in Britain.
Forster enhanced his reputation no end with his performances in the Champions League this season, with a superb display against Spanish giants Barcelona a particular highlight. He has to be in the thoughts of England boss Roy Hodgson.
Ben Foster retired from international football because he didn’t want to be sitting on the England bench. It seems that he has now changed his mind. The 29 year-old has been in decent form this season and deserves to be in the squad.
Foster has always been highly-rated, but like a lot of young English players found it hard to live up to the inflated expectations of the British media (I can see the irony!) in his early career.
However, in recent years he has developed into a very solid goalkeeper indeed. He is also just entering his prime as well. Keepers don’t usually hit their prime till their late 20’s or early 30’s and that is where Foster is currently.
I think that Joe Hart has been suffering from complacency this season. The 25 year-old is undisputed number one with both club and country and knows it. Maybe it would do the keeper some good to be demoted to the substitute bench.
It wouldn’t do anybody any harm to give either of Hart’s backups a run out in England’s visit to San Marino on Friday night in the World Cup qualifier.
Maybe Joe Hart needs a wake-up call to motivate him and being dropped for both the forthcoming qualifiers could be just what he needs. No doubt England boss Roy Hodgson won’t drop Hart and maybe it will harm his career.
Should Joe Hart be England’s undisputed number one?