England's World Cup goalie?

Who should be in goal for England at the World Cup?

The Times

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland urges Gareth Southgate to name England No 1

Jack Butland has called on Gareth Southgate to end the speculation over who will be his No 1 choice as England goalkeeper for the World Cup.

The Stoke City goalkeeper is one of the leading contenders after Joe Hart, the man chosen at recent tournaments, lost his place in West Ham United's starting XI.

That has thrown Butland into the frame despite a costly mistake away to Leicester City last weekend, while Jordan Pickford, of Everton, started the 0-0 friendly draw with Germany in November and Burnley's Tom Heaton and Southampton's Fraser Forster also have England experience.

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Should Southgate go with youth or experience at the World Cup?

By Joe Harker

The World Cup is closer than some might expect. There are just 96 days until the biggest tournament in international football begins and managers should have an idea of who will make up their squads and the key players at their disposal.

Most national team managers probably have a decent idea who their first choice goalkeeper is, but England manager Gareth Southgate is stuck with something of a dilemma as he must decide whether to stick with the experience of Joe Hart or give someone younger a chance.

Hart has 75 England caps and started all but one of the qualifying games, having been the first choice keeper for the nation since the end of the 2010 World Cup. However, he has often started despite clamour to give the goalkeeper's role to someone else as fans are worried that he is not the player he once was.

Despite his experience he has had a poor season where he lost his place with West Ham and has struggled for starts, conceding 33 goals in 18 appearances and not playing in the Premier League since being dropped in November.

Southgate believes Hart is the best keeper England have available, but he has fallen behind Adrian in the pecking order at West Ham and if he cannot start regularly for them then it is argued that he doesn't deserve to start for England at the World Cup. The problem this gives Southgate is that his other options have very little international experience, having decided to persist with Hart through the qualifiers despite fans turning on the keeper.

The Liverpool Echo backs Everton's Jordan Pickford to start in England's first game at the World Cup. He is undoubtedly talented and has been praised for his performances that have spared the blushes of shaky Sunderland and Everton defences, but he only has one England cap. Starting him at the World Cup could be throwing him in at the deep end, but Pickford may rise to the challenge.

Another strong prospect is Stoke keeper Jack Butland, who has six caps to his name. He has asked Southgate to clear up the uncertainty around who his first choice keeper is and likely hopes it will be him. He was picked to start England's final qualifier and that may suggest that Southgate has been considering him as a replacement for Hart.

Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher disagree over which keeper is first choice, with the former backing Butland and the latter preferring Pickford. Neville believes whoever is picked to start needs to be the manager's clear first choice as the World Cup is no place for rotating goalkeepers.

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