England manager Gareth Southgate is getting closer to finalising his 23-man squad ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
One position that Southgate is yet to fully decide on is the No 1 spot.
Here, Sportsmail’s experts Martin Keown and Chris Sutton give their verdict.
Nick Pope, Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford are all in contention for the No 1 spot
Pressure is on Butland – Martin Keown
Everyone will see on Tuesday against Italy as a trial for Jack Butland but he has just got to go out there, do his job and give Gareth Southgate a good problem.
There is pressure on the Stoke goalkeeper to show why Jordan Pickford has not secured the role of England No 1 for the World Cup. But this is the kind of pressure that we want to see whether he can handle.
During my time with the Three Lions, I had an advantage because David Seaman was in goal and we were team-mates at Arsenal.
Pickford laid down a strong claim to be England’s No 1 at the World Cup against Holland
Stoke City goalkeeper Butland will be on trial when England take on Italy on Tuesday
At international level, the relationship between a defender and his goalkeeper is incredibly important.
I would like to think Southgate is including Butland, Pickford and Co in his training sessions with the back three. More and more nowadays, the goalkeepers work alone in training. At Arsenal, however, we had key sessions where the goalkeeper was with us and it gave us an understanding and trust. England need that too.
Big Jack is the safe bet – Chris Sutton
England have been blessed with some very good goalkeepers in the past. Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence took turns in the Seventies, while there has also been Nigel Martyn, David Seaman, David James and more.
Due to Joe Hart’s loss of form, the door is now open for a new No 1.
Jordan Pickford’s confidence is exciting but I worry about when the ball is whipped in from a set-piece or corner. At 6ft 1in, is he commanding enough to handle it? A lack of height is not his fault, of course, but opponents could look to expose that.
Joe Hart’s loss of form for club and country has meant there is an opening for England
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has hardly done anything wrong for his club this season
Nick Pope has hardly put a glove wrong at Burnley this season and is in the squad on merit, but his lack of experience would be a concern.
For me, the job should go to Butland. What I like in a goalkeeper is presence and calmness, and the 25-year-old has those qualities.
People might point to the goals he has conceded at Stoke this season but you could pick out weaknesses in all of the goalkeepers. Personally, I see Butland as the safest bet.
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.