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The Curse Of Being The Next Big English Goalkeeper

By David Kent
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In Ireland, we like to keep an eye on the supposed 'next big thing' for our international side. Currently, it's the likes of Chris Forrester, Conor Hourihane and Sean Maguire.

England have been ahead of us in that for years though. The pressure placed on their up and coming players in insane, which inevitably often leads to a abject failure. Our thoughts at this time are with the recently crowned Under 20 World Champions.

Today, it's being reported that Everton are on the verge of signing Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for a reported fee of £30 million. To put that into context, it would make him the third most expensive goalkeeper in history. This despite Pickford playing just one season in the Premier League, for a team that finished at the bottom of the league.

Expect Pickford to be put under fierce scrutiny now. He's the next big thing for English goalkeeping and the press are only too happy to anoint him.

It's a familiar old tale for England, and one that has consistently gone wrong ever since the retirement of David Seaman.

Scott Carson

Imagine having a choice as 19 year old between two of the biggest clubs in English football. Chelsea and Liverpool both want your services and are willing to pay £1,000,000.

In 2005, that was Scott Carson. He went from Leeds to Liverpool and won a Champions League medal aged 20. The signs were there that he was going to be the big star.


After making a rake of underage appearances for England, Carson was called into the squad for the 2006 World Cup by Sven Goran Eriksson. Although he didn't play, it was a sign of what was to come. Sven was sacked, and Steve McClaren came in.  The keeper would stay level-headed though, telling the BBC following the World Cup:

Ray Clemence has got more chance of starting a game than me at the moment

But he would eventually play for England in November 2007, during a friendly against Austria, gaining his first competitive start against Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifier a week later.


The ball and his international hopes slipped through his hands.

[Watch Video]

It would be a year before he'd gain his next cap, for a second half appearance against Germany. His next, and last game for the Three Lions would come in 2011 against Sweden.


He would make 110 appearances for West Brom before being replaced by Ben Foster. Spells in Turkey and Wigan led him to Derby, where he starts now.

But if you type Scott Carson into YouTube - that video is the top result.

Total England appearances: 4

Ben Foster

And speaking of Ben Foster, he was the man who replaced Carson at West Brom and a man who England also put their hopes on as a Seaman replacement.


Signing for Manchester United will always help you out for international appearances. At least, it should. Not so for Foster

He was loaned out to Watford, where he was most notably lobbed by fellow keeper Paul Robinson. He made his England debut in February 2007, losing to Spain 1-0. It was the only bright spot of the evening, according to the Daily Mail. The Guardian got very ahead of themselves in the build-up to the match:

An impressive performance against Spain tonight could establish him above Paul Robinson on a long-term basis and when Foster ends his two-year spell at Watford to move back to Old Trafford at the end of the season,  Edwin van der Sar will no longer be able to consider himself a mandatory first-team pick for United.

It didn't work out like that. It would be two years before Foster's next England cap, after inconsistent appearances at Old Trafford.

A 4-0 friendly victory over Slovakia saw Foster rarely tested. A third cap came in the final World Cup qualifier against Belarus in October 2009. Foster would receive ratings of 7 from both the Guardian and the Telegraph. After missing out on the 2010 World Cup, an international sabbatical followed.

The sabbatical ended in 2013, and Foster would pick up a handful of England caps from there on, including against Ireland in May of that year.


He would move to Birmingham and subsequently to the Baggies. But after going from Stoke's reserves to Manchester United, there was an awful lot more potential.

Total England appearances: 8

Rob Green

Ah, Rob Green. Seven years of international football. And just over double figures in caps. One memorable moment.


Green would make his first appearance in 2005, was named in the World Cup squad in 2006 but missed out after tearing his groin.

He would have to wait in line for his next England game. He even sported gloves emblazoned with 'England's Number 6' on them while with West Ham.

When he did get his chance again, Green yo-yoyed.

First, he was the first ever England keeper to be sent off.


He was named in the 2010 World Cup squad though, and this time he would make it on the plane. He was picked to start against the USA on the day of the game, but the mistake made would haunt him his England career.


Green wouldn't pull on an England shirt again until the Euro 2012 qualifiers, but at that stage, he was never going to maintain the jersey.

He dropped out of the Premier League after spells with QPR before moving to Leeds.

Total England appearances: 12

Chris Kirkland

Chris Kirkland has almost 200 Premier League appearances, having been a mainstay in the Wigan Athletic side that refused to be relegated year on year.

He was invited to the England squad in 2003.

His parents had spotted his potential. The second half appearance against Greece in 2006 would net his dad ÂŁ10,000 on a bet placed when Kirkland was in his teens.

That probably makes up for the fact that Kirkland never played for England again. A one cap wonder, riddled with injuries over a long career.

Total England appearances: 1

Paul Robinson

This one may be a little harsh. Robinson played over 40 times for England.

But in reality, that should've been an awful lot more. He started with a few friendlies, made the Euro 2004 squad. He really broke into the starting team in the 2006 World Cup qualifying squad. Four clean sheets out of five games at the tournament. Things were going brilliantly.

Like Carson, he was undone against Croatia, albeit briefly


His weakness as a goalkeeper was his ability to parry almost every shot. And usually, these parries would fall back into the six-yard box, as opposed to wide of the goal.

It took international teams a while to find this weakness. But Germany and Russia both capitalised in 07/08.


It resulted in Robinson being dropped by the departing Steve McClaren and fell out of favour under Fabio Capello before retiring from international football in 2010.

His club career mirrored his international, as he lost his spot at Spurs, before declining year on year with Blackburn Rovers

Total England appearances: 42

So, no pressure Jordan. There's plenty that have gone before you. No doubt you'll do fine. It's perfectly reasonable that Everton should splash out 30 million quid on an unproven commodity given the evidence of the last fifteen years.

Watch: Ray Wilkins Goes Full Brexit In Baffling Rant Against Man Utd Signing Victor Lindelof

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