With the World Cup in Qatar rapidly approaching, there is plenty of debate on who should feature in England’s starting XI in the Middle East. One of the main areas of interest is between the sticks, with long-time No.1 Jordan Pickford the likeliest to feature in goals. However, with the Three Lions drifting in the 2022 World Cup betting, there is an argument still to be had on who should don the No.1 jersey.
That said, let’s take a look at the goalkeepers hoping to get the nod from Gareth Southgate ahead of England’s opening game against Iran on November 21. Read on to find out more!
As short as 1/7 to start England’s first game of the competition, Pickford has the experience of 2018 on his side — helping the Three Lions to a fourth-place finish after being knocked out by Croatia in the semi-finals and beaten by Belgium in the third-place play-off. He was also heavily involved when England came within a whisker of winning Euro 2020.
The 28-year-old, who has 45 England caps, did lose his place in the second half of England’s recent Nations League campaign — in which they suffered relegation after failing to win any of their six outings against Italy, Hungary and Germany — but he is expected to be reinstated to the starting 11 for the World Cup.
Arguably more in-form domestically than Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale is flying high at the top of the Premier League table with Arsenal — as the Gunners continue to hold off defending champions Manchester City by a single point after losing just one of their opening 12 games.
The 24-year-old hasn’t really been given the chance to prove himself on the international stage as of yet, winning just three England caps thus far in his career. Ramsdale made his Three Lions debut in a 10-0 win over San Marino last November, but has featured just twice since — keeping a second clean sheet against Italy, but conceding four in a match to forget against Hungary. That looks to have hindered his chances of stealing the No.1 spot.
Arguably England’s in-form goalkeeper domestically, Nick Pope has been a key part of the Newcastle United revolution under their new Saudi leadership — conceding just 10 goals and keeping six clean sheets in the Magpies’ 13 games at the time of writing, the lowest in the Premier League, as the Geordies are currently fourth in the table.
Pope’s chances of starting in the Middle East have plummeted in the England World Cup odds following his recent Nations League displays, however, with 9/1 on offer for him start the Three Lions’ opener against Iran. The 30-year-old started England’s final two games against Italy and Germany but couldn’t transfer his club form to the international stage, with a major error in the 3-3 draw at home to the latter appearing to have ruined his chances of starting in goal in Qatar.
With the news that coaches are allowed to bring an additional three players to the World Cup, with squads being extended from 23 to 26, Nottingham Forest loanee Dean Henderson might scrap into Southgate’s selection. But it would be surprising if he got any game time in the Middle East.