- Gareth Southgate is planning to name Joe Hart in his squad for Russia
- Everton’s Jordan Pickford is leading the race to be the No 1 for the World Cup
- Hart was expected to be first choice in Russia but lost his place at West Ham
Gareth Southgate is planning to name Joe Hart in his squad for Russia — but not as No 1.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford is leading the race to be the World Cup goalkeeper with Jack Butland his main rival.
Hart, who has 75 caps, was expected to be England’s first choice in Russia, but losing his starting place to Adrian at West Ham has put the 30-year-old’s spot in jeopardy.
England boss Gareth Southgate is planning to name Joe Hart in his World Cup squad for Russia
However, Hart’s vast international experience is likely to work in his favour when Southgate finalises his 23-man squad for the summer.
Sportsmail revealed last week that the superior distribution skills of Pickford, who impressed against Holland on Friday, have put him in pole position.
Butland, though, will be given his chance on Tuesday, against Italy. And the former centre forward insists he is just as comfortable as Pickford with the ball at his feet.
‘I feel my distribution is really good, Jordan plays in a team where perhaps he is allowed to express that a little bit more,’ said Butland.
Jordan Pickford is leading the race to be the No 1 goalkeeper for the World Cup this summer
‘I used to be a striker until I was about 13. I like to feel I’m mature, consistent as a keeper and I pride myself on my shot-stopping and presence.’
On his race with Pickford to play in England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia, the Stoke keeper said: ‘It’s a good thing isn’t it, having competition? I enjoy it. We’re all pushing each other. It feels like it will be a close call.
‘It’s how you react, how you are as a character, that’s the biggest test.’
The likes of Nick Pope, Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton are now likely to miss out on England’s World Cup squad.
Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland also feels he is in contention for a starting place
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.