Should Joe Hart be England’s number one?

Joe Hart

Joe Hart has endured a torrid few months. There have been vocal sections of the England fan-base calling for manager Roy Hodgson to drop him as England number one, but the question is who would replace the Man City stopper?

Hart has been the undisputed number one since the aftermath of the calamitous 2010 World Cup but after a less than stellar season last year and an indifferent start to this campaign many are arguing that he doesn’t warrant a first-team place.

West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster is the England number two and has amassed six national caps. Sadly Foster is currently out for two months after picking up a stress fracture in his foot. Foster though is just as error-prone as Hart, and once got beaten by a Paul Robinson free-kick from inside the opposing 18-yard-box. While Foster is an adequate stopper, he isn’t as consistent as Hart and with a two-month layoff it will take a lot of game time to get him back to proper match fitness. The football odds with the likes of seem to suggest that he isn’t a popular choice among England fans.

Norwich’s John Ruddy is also in and around the England squad. The Canaries goalkeeper is vital to the club and was linked with a move to Chelsea in the summer. Ruddy is a competent shot-stopper but isn’t the greatest handler and is often seen flapping at crosses. With only one England cap, Ruddy doesn’t have the necessary experience to warrant a starting place in the England XI.

Young Jack Butland burst onto the scene after his surprise call-up to the England Euro 2012 squad. The Stoke goalkeeper is currently on loan at Championship side Barnsley. While there can be no arguing that Butland is a fantastic prospect for the future, there is no way he is ready to take on the mantra of being England number one. How can a goalkeeper not deemed good enough to be Stoke number one be considered for England’s starting line-up?

Another lower league ‘keeper who could be involved in the England set-up is journeyman Scott Carson. The former Liverpool stopper is back in the UK with Wigan after a successful spell with Turkish side Bursaspor. While Carson is undoubtedly experienced, playing for a host of top-flight clubs, he isn’t entirely tested at international level. He has four caps to his name and hasn’t been involved with the England set-up since 2011. In fact when talking about errors, Carson made the infamous gaffe in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia that led to England’s failure to qualify for the tournament.

All players have ups and downs in their careers and Joe Hart is just having a blip. Like all footballers confidence is key; he doesn’t need fans on his back, he needs them behind him spurring him on. If he regains his confidence he will recapture his form and then the conundrum of who should be England’s number one will be solved. Hart is without a shadow of a doubt England’s only possible number one.

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