England’s World Cup squad as Capello sees it – the goalkeepers

23 02 2010

Who should be in Capello’s squad based on his insistence of form?

England’s U-21 squad, announced on Monday by Stuart Pearce, had the revealing omission of goalkeeper Joe Hart. Conspicuous by his absence, the Birmingham City stopper is widely considered the form English goalie of this Premier League, and is likely to be tried out in the upcoming friendly against Egypt next Wednesday, but will the England boss be willing to hand the young man the number 1 jersey in South Africa?

Joe hart must gain invaluable experience in England's friendlies Along with the left midfield the goalkeeping selection has been like the fragile metatarsal in Rooney’s magical feet: always likely to crumble at that crucial moment. Remember David Seaman against Brazil in 2002. Remember Paul Robinson in Croatia and Robert Green in Wembley? Remember not qualifying for Euro 2008???

Forget the dire condition of England’s training camp in Rustenburg, the most pressing decision weighing on Fab’s studious mind right now is who to put between the sticks. Now, in an attempt to premeditate his chosen number 1, here are those statistics for our nation’s top-flight goalkeepers that the Italian vows by so religiously. We will see if the stats really do add up for our man Fabio, based on Premier League figures and Champions League and international appearances.

GOALKEEPERS

 

Games

Mins

CS

Saves

GC

Mins/GC

GC/game

CL 09/10

WQ 09/10

England CG

Hart

25

2250

8

101

28

80

1.12

0

0

0

Robinson

27

2430

9

86

43

57

1.59

0

0

16

Green

26

2322

7

90

40

58

1.54

0

4

4

Kirkland

23

1958

5

61

42

47

1.83

0

0

0

James

17

1514

3

43

29

52

1.71

0

6

16

Foster

8

720

3

18

8

90

1

2

1

1

CS clean sheets | GC goals conceded | CL Champions League appearances | WQ World Cup Qualifying caps | CG competitive games | First place | Second place

No. 1 – Joe Hart has made the most saves with 101 and with the second best goals conceded to games ratio (1.12) should statistically be first choice but is inexperienced with no competitive England games to date. It would need the conservative Capello to break with his traditions to select the nation’s top-flight in-form stopper.

No. 2 – Robert Green would make a dependable deputy. He has made the second most saves with 90 and played the second most games in World Cup qualification with four.

No. 3 – Paul Robinson, attempting to return from the international wilderness, is an experienced backup with the most clean sheets and games this season (nine in 27). He has jointly played the most competitive matches for the Three Lions, level with David James on 16.

David James has been reliable when called upon but his club form is not good enough James is statistically vulnerable, conceding a goal every 52 minutes and only appearing 17 times. Ben Foster has played too few games, with eight, to be considered but is clearly able, only conceding a goal a game and with recent Champions League experience. Chris Kirkland is not up to scratch with 1.83 goals conceded per game and a limited international pedigree.

So there you have it. Hart needs to start. He is brimming with confidence, performed commendably for the U-21 squad in their last European competition, saved a penalty, and even scored from the spot. David James, previously a shoe-in for Capello has dropped down the pecking order. Come May and June the situation may have changed but for Capello, the decision is likely to be one of deciding between experience and ability. He made the right choice with JT. Will he make the right choice with JH?

Next post: I’ll assess the outfield options.

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5 responses

23 02 2010
Mac Daddy

No reference to the Defender’s in front of the Keepers? James has rubbish defenders in front of him… may say similar for Green. Attackers against Birmingham are getting frustrated and resorting to pop shots from distance = easy saves. Robinson’s defence has improved from late, but he has let in a few softies from outside the box

23 02 2010
reassessthepress

Good to see you’re keeping an eye on the best league in the world. A-League not quite doing it for you?

Of course you’d blame the defence – you did debutise as a keeper before you lost the plot and hurtled around outfield! lol. However, you do make a good point. How the defence performs does make a difference, but as people have been saying about Shay Given at Man City, the way the keeper organises the players in front of him and commands his penalty box is just as important as his shot stopping and distribution. So in effect, the goalkeeper has as much responsibility as the defensive coach to make sure the back four do their job.

Hart has organised a coherent backline, Given (I know he’s Irish) has not and you could also argue neither did Foster or to a certain extent Robinson as they have conceeded a lot of goals.

Nevertheless, the stats is what I’m looking at – because that is how Mr Capello said he would look at it (that’s the point of the article remember). You can’t be taking into consideration every goalkeeper the striker comes up against when selecting the forwards for a national squad. A goal’s a goal. A clean sheet is a clean sheet.

24 02 2010
Jamie

I’m glad someone else brought up the importance of who is in front of the goalie ‘cos it makes a big difference for the stats. Thing is, Hart is only 22, even if he did try to boss Terry (29) Ferdinand (31) A.Cole (29) Johnson (25) around with positioning etc, would they listen? At that age they’re likely to say or at least think “don’t tell me what to do, kid”. It’s worth a try using Hart in a friendly or two, he’s been in great form and he’s probably cocky enough to take the step up. But the best goalkeeper England have to offer, by far in my opinion, is David James. Sure, he has a calamitous past, but he’s hugely experienced and the rest of the squad respect him and as for the stats – he has an awful defence to work with at Pompey. With world class defenders in front of him in an England shirt, he’s the man for the job. Being Iish, however, I hope Capello makes the wrong decision based on stats and England are on an early flight home 😀

By the way, how was 442 strides?

16 05 2010
kevin burgess

GOALKEEPING/SQUAD SELECTION COMMENT: When the squad is announced, I hope Capello takes an extra striker, or a recovering player like Barry, and not three goalkeepers. Statistics on World Cups squads may be useful to him here: HOW MANY TIMES HAS A TEAM USED THREE GOALKEEPERS IN THE TOURNAMENT? Does anyone know? I suspect very rarely, and on some of those occasions it may have been an optional change.

I would prefer to see an extra player like Emile Heskey or Darren Bent on the bench, rather than a third goalkeeper that we are never likely to need. Are n’t we are more likely to loose for lack of a goal, than because two goalkeepers were injured?

3 01 2011
2010 in review « Reassessthepress's Blog

[…] England’s World Cup squad as Capello sees it – the goalkeepers February 2010 4 comments 5 […]

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