Gareth Southgate Has Plenty of Goalkeeping Options Ahead of the World Cup
There is plenty of optimism surrounding the England squad at the moment and there is also an unusual and unexpected undercurrent of positivity ahead of the 2018 World Cup. The Three Lions beat the Netherlands 1-0 in an international friendly on March 23rd at the Amsterdam Arena and the team is playing with plenty of confidence. It was their first victory at the iconic stadium in 49 years and despite a spirited fightback from Ronald Koeman’s side, England held firm. Jordan Pickford started in goal for Gareth Southgate’s team, although the Everton stopper’s position in the side is far from guaranteed.
With all of the players hoping for a place on the plane, there is plenty of competition ahead of this summer and England look particularly well-stocked in the goalkeeping department. Joe Hart, who represented his country during the 2014 World Cup is currently only second choice at West Ham and many are tipping the former Shrewsbury Town man to lose his place in Gareth Southgate’s side.
Stoke may have struggled at the back this season but that hasn’t dented Jack Butland’s reputation, with the keeper impressing for the Potters on a number of occasions and he will be hoping to take full advantage of his opportunity against Italy on March 27th. Nick Pope has also been terrific for Burnley this season whilst his teammate Tom Heaton is likely to have recovered from injury in time for the tournament.
It looks set to be a five-horse race in the battle for a starting position against Tunisia on June 18th as England begin their Group G campaign. The Three Lions are 5/4 with Betfair to finish top of their section ahead of Belgium.
Who Will Get the Call-Up?
Whilst Nick Pope is considered an outsider, he is the value bet in 888Sport’s ‘To Make the 23-man England Squad’ betting market. The Burnley stopper is 6/4 to travel to Russia, with teammate Tom Heaton rated as a 4/1 chance. Jack Butland remains in pole position at 1/4, with the aforementioned Jordan Pickford priced at 1/3.
888Sport have also priced up the stage of elimination market, with England available at 5/2 to be knocked-out in the quarter-finals.