After the strangely under-praised 100% EURO 2016 qualification campaign, England’s ‘real business’ is about to get underway in the shape of friendly matches against Spain and France in the run up to the trip across the Channel next summer.
The upcoming double header should tell us a lot more about the strength of Roy Hodgson’s side, and with the qualification group having been fairly straightforward – Switzerland were the biggest test – the veteran manager is sure to be keen to assess all the options he has available to him. And although the Jamie Vardy question seems to be the pressing one, the goalkeeping situation is far more interesting.
Although Joe Hart is currently the Three Lions’ No.1 after cementing himself over the course of the last few years, the Manchester City man, according to OuLaLa.com, has been out-performed by his junior compatriot Jack Butland in Premier League action this term.
Okay, the level of shots Stoke City face is far greater than the quantity of balls heading towards the league leaders’ net, but Butland makes three saves for every one of Hart’s, has averaged more saves-per-goals-conceded at 3.3, made more catches-per-match and is better in terms of errors leading to goals.
Hodgson is unlikely to push Butland in right away, but should the two-cap Three Lions stopper keep up his form, there could be serious questions asked by the time France 2016 rolls around.