Robert Green (West Ham) – Surprisingly the current jersey wearer and favourite for the no 1 spot in Capello’s squad. After revealing over a year ago on his gloves that he was “England’s number 6,” a criticism about his absence from various England squads, his star has risen rapidly under Capello. The injuries to both David James and Ben Foster, and the loss of form of Paul Robinson, have allowed Green to rise through the pecking order to top spot. Like all England goalkeepers, he is a fantastic shot stopper, and has had to be during his time at West Ham. He does tend to flap at crosses and corners however, and no such lapses of concentration could be afforded at the World Cup where one error could decide a game. Rating: 8/10.
David James (Portsmouth) – Has come a long way from being called “Calamity James.” Has evolved and learned to concentrate as a goalkeeper and at Portsmouth he was the stalwart of a defence that up till this season, could be relied upon to keep clean sheets. He is definitely the best shot-stopper out of all five goalkeepers named here but, like he has been for his entire career, he is prone to a silly error, dropping a ball from a cross he should take easily, not stopping a shot he should do and coming out off his line when there is no need to (England vs. France at Euro 2004). He is far more reliable these days, but at his age and with his reputation, wouldn’t it be better to go with another goalkeeper? Rating: 7/10.
Paul Robinson (Blackburn) – I have no doubt in saying that Robinson would have been the first choice keeper for England for the rest of his career if he didn’t have a crisis of confidence. A crisis of confidence that was sparked by a divot in the turf in the 2-0 loss in Croatia during the disastrous qualifying campaign for Euro 2008. From that moment on he began to come for crosses he had no chance in hell of getting to and an inability to save some quite easy shots. He subsequently lost his place in the Tottenham side and moved to Blackburn to resurrect his career. He is still not back to where he was a few years ago, but his confidence is slowly returning and hopefully he can return to the fine keeper he once was. Rating: 7/10.
Ben Foster (Man U) – Manchester United’s second goalkeeper. Some high-profile errors in recent months, against Arsenal when he should have kept Arshavin’s shot out, against Sunderland when he missed a cross allowing Kenwyne Jones to score and against Man City when he nearly allowed Carlos Tevez to score on his return to Old Trafford by taking too much time on the ball. Foster seems to get very nervous in big games and it may take a few more years to realise his talents. What he needs most is first team football and a move away from Manchester may be the best thing for him to increase his confidence levels and make him a real contender as first-choice England goalkeeper. Rating: 5/10.
Outsider – Chris Kirkland (Wigan) – Has not been picked in recent England squads due to Capello’s demand that all squad members must be fully fit to compete at international level. Probably the most talented goalkeeper on this list, Kirkland has been hampered by a back injury for his entire career. He has to take pain-killing injections before nearly every match and has constant physiotherapy treatment. Kirkland briefly had a spell in the Liverpool first team before injury once again hampered his progress, and his subsequent move to Wigan has been a success. A reliable goalkeeper, shot-stopper, good on crosses, good distributor and commaning in the box, but his injuries may mean he will be too much of a risk for Capello. Rating: 8/10.