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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
England's goalkeeper options
By Paul Fletcher

Paul Robinson in action for England against Germany
Robinson's spot as England's number one keeper is in doubt
Paul Robinson's performance against Germany on Wednesday has reopened the debate on who should be England's number one goalkeeper.

The Tottenham keeper failed to clear a cross-cum-shot from Bernd Schneider, weakly pushing the ball into his six-yard box for Kevin Kuranyi to score.

After the 2-1 defeat, England coach Steve McClaren refused to confirm that Robinson would remain his first choice for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers with Israel and Russia in September.

"This is not a night to publicly state anything at all about the team in the future," said McClaren.

But he has limited options when it comes to choosing his first-choice stopper.


Of the 20 Premier League clubs, only six regularly field an English goalkeeper.

Those clubs are Tottenham (Robinson), Portsmouth (David James), Aston Villa (Scott Carson), Wigan (Chris Kirkland), West Ham (Robert Green) and Derby (Stephen Bywater).

None of these are sides that historically finish the season in the top four and the only Premier League club to regularly field an English keeper who has yet to be given, at the very least, a place in England's senior squad is Derby County, for whom Bywater plays in goal.

Kirkland, Green and injured Manchester United keeper Ben Foster all have one cap.

Hardly an embarrassment of riches.

PAUL ROBINSON Tottenham, 37 caps, age 27
Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson

Robinson became the number one choice at the 2006 World Cup, taking over from James, and retained that position for all the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

He was the victim of an unfortunate incident in the qualifier in Croatia last year when he tried to clear a Gary Neville backpass but the ball hit a divot and went over his foot and into the goal.

Robinson was not selected for the subsequent friendly against Spain in February, with McClaren instead opting to try out Foster.

Tottenham keeper Robinson, regarded as an excellent shot stopper, was at fault for one of Germany's goals on Wednesday and was beaten from long range for the other.

He appears to be under increasing pressure for his number one spot, although the lack of credible alternatives works in his favour.

DAVID JAMES, Portsmouth, 35 caps, age 37
Portsmouth goalkeeper David James

His excellent form for Portsmouth led to James being rewarded with 45 minutes against Germany on Wednesday - his first England appearance since June 2006.

Always recognised as a brilliantly athletic goalkeeper, James' career has been undermined by a serious of blunders that earned him the nickname Calamity.

He admitted that he was "not properly prepared" after England's 4-1 friendly defeat by Denmark in August 2005. A damaging remark.

Two years later and the 37-year-old appears to be the most serious challenger to Robinson's mantle.

Determined to make the most of his latest unexpected opportunity, he told BBC Sport after the match with Germany: "I'm determined to qualify for the next squad."

SCOTT CARSON, Aston Villa (loan), 0 caps, age 21
Scott Carson - on loan at Aston Villa

Carson was the unused keeper in the squad for the friendly against Germany.

The Whitehaven-born stopper is extremely highly rated - so much so that Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez paid Leeds an initial 750,000 for the then 19-year-old in January 2005.

Carson faces stiff competition at Anfield and is currently in his third loan spell since joining the Reds - a season-long move to Villa.

First called into the senior squad for the tour of the United States in May 2005, he played for England B against Belarus in May 2006, the third keeper used by England in that match. However, he has yet to make his senior debut.

He was a member of England's 2006 World Cup squad and has made more England Under-21 appearances than any other player with 29 caps.

An excellent long-term prospect but, with vital qualifiers looming, he lacks experience.

CHRIS KIRKLAND, Wigan Athletic, 1 cap, age 26
Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland

A hugely commanding presence at 6ft 6in, Kirkland rose to prominence with Coventry before joining Liverpool for 6m on the August transfer deadline in 2001.

Kirkland is a keeper of undoubted ability and an excellent shot-stopper but his career has been undermined by a succession of lengthy injuries.

He never really established himself at Anfield and went to West Brom then Wigan in search of badly needed first-team experience.

Kirkland joined Wigan permanently in October 2006 - just over two months after making his solitary England senior appearance as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Greece.

ROBERT GREEN, West Ham United, 1 cap, age 27
Robert Green

Green started his career at Norwich and his consistency with the Canaries earned him his first squad call-up in March 2004.

The 27-year-old won his only full cap as a half-time substitute for David James against Colombia in May 2005.

But he again replaced James at the break in the B international against Belarus in May 2006.

Green was heavily tipped for a place in the 2006 World Cup squad but suffered a terrible injury minutes after his introduction, rupturing his groin as he attempted to kick the ball upfield.

The Chertsey-born keeper, who joined West Ham in August, seems to have slipped out of the frame for England.

BEN FOSTER, Manchester United, 1 cap, age 24
Ben Foster

He joined Manchester United from Stoke in July 2005 and was immediately sent on loan to Watford, with whom he spent two seasons gaining valuable experience before returning to Old Trafford in the summer.

Foster was excellent as Watford battled in vain against relegation from the Premier League last season and is regarded by many as the next long-term England keeper.

Was on the standby list for the 2006 World Cup and eventually made his debut against Spain at Old Trafford in February.

Foster is currently out of the reckoning after surgery on a serious cruciate knee ligament injury in June.


England are reported to be investigating whether Manchester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel would opt for McClaren's side over his native Denmark. The 20-year-old certainly has the pedigree.

Fit after seasons blighted with injury, Charlton keeper Nicky Weaver is playing regular football and has been linked with a call into an England squad several times during his career.

Richard Wright was highly rated when at Ipswich but his career stalled after his 2001 move to Arsenal. He is now an understudy to Green at West Ham and out of the frame.

Derby County keeper Stephen Bywater. English and plays regular Premier League football - every other contender has had a go so why not him?

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