Thursday, June 8, 2023

England’s goalkeeping crisis

Graham Fisher in Editorial, General Soccer News 26 May 2011


Crucial he stays fit

I have to say that I am very worried by the England goalkeeping situation at the moment and in the future.


Manchester City keeper Joe Hart is good. He might not be great but he is good. I have no problem with him being England’s number one and as a young man he could hold that position for many years to come.

No, it isn’t the first choice that is a problem. The problem comes if Joe Hart is injured or suffers a loss of form. The next goalkeepers in line are simply not good enough. They are not international class and it is questionable whether they are even Premiership class.


The original selection for England’s Euro qualifier against Switzerland on 4th June saw West Brom’s Scott Carson and Fulham’s David Stockdale as the back up to Joe Hart.

David Stockdale may be a decent keeper but he played just ten games for Fulham this season and was kept out of the side by an ageing Mark Schwartzer. He has no Premier League pedigree and spends most of his time sitting on a substitute’s bench. To even consider putting him in the England squad seems strange to say the least.


As it turned out, Stockdale had to withdraw from the squad because he is getting married on 3rd June! That tells us two things. Firstly, the player himself never considered that he might be called up and secondly, the England set-up obviously never spoke to him before announcing the squad. That shouldn’t surprise us, but boy, they really do seem
incompetent sometimes.

With Stockdale pulling out who does Capello turn to? Yes that’s right, West Ham’s thirty-one year old keeper Rob Green.


Scott Carson hasn’t had a decent run of form since he had an absolute horror show in the England shirt and made the mistakes that saw them lose to Croatia at Wembley and fail to qualify for Euro 2008. He was dropped from the West Brom team this season after a poor spell and continued to make mistakes and cause confusion when he returned. Of
course he isn’t a terrible keeper but he isn’t a very good one either. He should never be anywhere near an international squad.

Rob Green has had his chance and, like Scott Carson, he totally blew it. For reasons best known to Capello, he decided that Green was England’s top keeper at last year’s World Cup. His abysmal error cost England a win against USA in the opening game and like Carson again, his form has never really recovered.


Green has had some decent games for West Ham this season behind a very poor defence and he can hardly be blamed for their relegation, but he has also made mistakes. He has made far too many of them to be considered for the England squad.

None of the above is the fault of the individuals, it is simply that they are not quite good enough. Ben Foster probably is good enough, although he too has a clanger in him, but he has chosen to withdraw from international football.


The problem for Fabio Capello is that he hasn’t got any other keepers to choose from. Of the twenty clubs in the Premier League only five English keepers regularly play. They are Hart, Carson, Green, Paul Robinson who doesn’t want to be selected and Steve Harper who is injured.

I worry because the keepers that Capello has picked are, in fact, the best he has available. That really is a true worry.


Graham Fisher



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