Ranking the 20 England keepers after David Seaman…

Ian Watson

These are the keepers who have been called up to a senior England squad since David Seaman’s final international appearance against Macedonia in October 2002…


20) Scott Loach – 0 caps
The friendly against Hungary in 2010 marked a nadir in England goalkeeping. While Joe Hart manned the sticks, his back-up was Watford keeper Loach and Frankie Fielding. Loach amassed 14 Under-21 caps but his career nosedived shortly after leaving Vicarage Road as his ‘dream move’ to Ipswich turned sour. The 29-year-old finished last season in the York City team that was relegated from the Conference, though Loach was spared playing in National League North by joining Hartlepool last summer.

19) Joe Lewis – 0 caps
Lewis had 46 appearances in League Two, spread over spells at Stockport, Morecambe and Peterborough, when he got the call from Fabio Capello in May 2008. The 6ft 5in keeper sat on the bench for both friendlies against USA and Trinidad & Tobago but was never seen again on the senior scene. After it turned sour for Lewis at Posh, he went to sit on Cardiff’s bench before finally settling in the Aberdeen goal following spells at Blackpool and Fulham.

18) Angus Gunn – 0 caps
The Man City youngster, on loan at Norwich, was drafted in from the Under-21s to cover for Jack Butland’s absence for the friendly against Brazil last year. He might be good, he might be brilliant. Ask us again in five years…

17) Frankie Fielding – 0 caps
Fielding, aged 22, was fourth-choice keeper at Blackburn behind Paul Robinson, Jason Brown and Mark Bunn when he was called up from the Under-21s by Capello in 2010 to be a substitute against Hungary. His first Under-21 start had come only the night before and Stuart Pearce admitted he had been “lightly raced, in terms of matches”. His last professional appearance prior to sitting on England’s bench at Wembley was on loan at Rochdale the previous season in front of fewer than 5,000. He made up the numbers in two subsequent senior squads and never played for Blackburn in the Premier League before moving to Derby then on to Bristol City.

16) David Stockdale – 0 caps
The now-Birmingham stopper had eight Premier League appearances behind him as Fulham’s No.2 when Capello called upon him for a friendly against Denmark in February 2011. Stockdale had to turn down a squad place against Switzerland that summer because he wisely identified that getting married was a smarter long-term move, rather than watch a Euros qualifier against Switzerland from the bench or the stand. He made six subsequent squads while on loan at Ipswich, getting on the bench on four occasions.

15) Alex McCarthy – 0 caps
The Reading stopper was in and out of the relegated Royals team with 13 Premier League appearances upon being handed a senior call-up by Roy Hodgson for the 2013 friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil. Three years and only 10 top-flight matches later, Sam Allardyce brought him into his only squad to cover for injured club team-mate Fraser Forster, though like Big Sam, he hasn’t been seen around the England team ever since. He has surfaced again in the Saints side, though…

14) Nick Pope – 0 caps
Had Tom Heaton not dislocated his shoulder back in September, then the Burnley captain would surely be going to the World Cup, perhaps with a shout of being No.1. But Pope came in and covered so admirably for the Clarets skipper that he took his international squad place too. Pope has the second-highest saves ratio in the Premier League behind only David de Gea, though Burnley’s defensive organisation and the way they limit the quality of opposition chances is a large factor. It would be a surprise if Pope went to Russia, but few would grumble if he sneaked on the plane.

13) Chris Kirkland – 1 cap
The then-Liverpool loanee netted his dad £10,000 when he made his England debut in 2006, but, despite being described by David Platt as the “best young goalkeeper in the world” and Sven-Goran Eriksson as the “future of English goalkeeping”, it was to be his one and only senior cap. Kirkland recently spoke out about his battle with depression that ultimately ended his career at Bury aged 35.

12) Scott Carson – 4 caps
The Derby keeper says he was in the best form of his career when he was backed for an England recall this season by Gary Rowett owing to his fine performances for Derby. But, a decade on from his nightmare against Croatia when handed a second cap by Steve McClaren with England’s Euro 2008 qualification hopes on the line, Carson’s time has long since passed, if it ever really arrived. Two sub appearances followed under Capello but the former Liverpool keeper was just one of a long line of keepers who never looked at home in the England goal.

11) Ian Walker – 4 caps
More than eight years separated Walker’s first and last caps, with only two coming between. His only competitive appearance came as a late replacement for Seaman when Gianfranco Zola’s volley beat Glenn Hoddle’s England in a World Cup ’98 qualifier. The then-Tottenham stopper watched European Championships in 1996 and 2004 with his involvement in the tournament in Portugal coming after a season in Leicester’s net that saw the Foxes suffer relegation. Lovely hair.

10) John Ruddy – 1 cap
Ruddy received his first call-up in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man party for Euro 2012 but the then-Norwich keeper broke his finger in training prior to the tournament and was forced to pull out. To add insult to injury, it was Ruddy’s first broken bone, on his ring finger, just a few days before his wedding. He made a belated debut in a friendly against Italy shortly after the European Championships but remained a one-cap wonder, despite lurking around Hodgson’s squad for two more years.

9) Fraser Forster – 6 caps
Forster’s recent slide is not irreversible but this is certainly the furthest he’s been from the England squad since his international debut four-and-a-half years ago. Southampton finally lost patience with the 6ft 5in giant after the 5-2 defeat at Tottenham on Boxing Day which was the culmination of a season and a half of decidedly ropey form. Forster has always looked uneasy with the ball at his feet and he’s certainly never been the most mobile. At 30, he looks finished at international level.  

8) Rob Green – 12 caps
Forever remembered for letting Clint Dempsey’s shot at the World Cup in 2010 slip through his hands and legs, an error which came on his last England start. Green’s brief spell came between James’ occupation of the Three Lions’ goal and Paul Robinson’s stint in the sticks with 10 starts in 63 squad appearances painting an accurate picture of a competent stand-in but never a first choice on the international scene.

7) Tom Heaton – 3 caps
The Burnley captain was around Roy Hodgson’s England squad for 18 months before finally seeing some action in a pre-Euro 2016 warm-up against Australia. Heaton has played two halves under Southgate, conceding four goals against Spain and France, before a dislocated shoulder in September ruined his World Cup hopes and allowed Pope to get comfy in his gloves.

6) Ben Foster – 8 caps
The West Brom keeper has been in and out of the England squad so often over the last decade that it’s hard to know his current status. Forster retired from international football in 2011 to avoid being away from his young family, though former Baggies boss Hodgson convinced him to end his 22-month exile. The ex-Man Utd keeper made three further appearances, including one at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but he hasn’t been seen in the international squad since November 2014.

5) Jack Butland – 7 caps
Many see it as a straight fight between Butland and Pickford for the No.1 spot in Russia, though there could be a late Joe Hart-shaped twist. Regardless, Butland’s big chance to impress came against Italy after Pickford passed his audition in Amsterdam. His seventh cap came against the same opposition as his first, six years later, due to some rotten luck with injuries. Yet to fully regain the form that made him appear a dead cert to inherit Hart’s gloves.

4) Jordan Pickford – 2 caps
Two cleans sheets, against Germany and Holland, in his two senior appearances makes Pickford a strong contender to be Southgate’s No.1 in Russia. “Yes, definitely,” said the England boss when asked last week whether the trip to Amsterdam had been a good audition for Pickford, who now has two full seasons in the Premier League behind two of its ropiest defences, Sunderland and Everton. His wand of a left foot could give him the edge over Butland this summer.

3) David James – 53 caps
James eventually replaced Seaman as England’s No.1 in 2002, five years after his senior debut, but he was replaced by Robinson after Euro 2004, following an error against Austria that saw The Sun depict him as an ass while hauling the poor, unsuspecting Mavis the Donkey to England training in a publicity stunt that led to the rest of the squad refusing to speak to the press in solidarity with their vilified team-mate. James regained his No.1 spot under Capello, lost it for the World Cup 2010 opener, got it back again, then lost it again when Hart was installed as No.1, with James pushing 40. Overall, James won 53 caps during a 13-year international career that seems almost impossible to judge as a success or otherwise.

2) Paul Robinson – 41 caps
The then-Leeds goalkeeper made his debut in the same game that Wayne Rooney was introduced to the senior England team – a 3-1 defeat to Australia in 2003 – but despite looking at one point as though he might enjoy a similarly prolonged international career, being first choice at Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006, Robinson suffered a slide that resulted in him being dropped by Steve McClaren for the make-or-break Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia – the same opponent who profited from Robinson’s famous air-kick from Gary Neville’s backpass. Despite a series of substitute appearances under Capello, Robinson, by now at Blackburn, failed to make the squad for the 2010 World Cup and retired from international duty shortly after.

1) Joe Hart – 75 caps
With Butland and Pickford seemingly battling for the No.1 spot, Hart may have to make do with the third-choice slot in Southgate’s squad. It is quite the fall from grace for the 30-year-old with 75 caps, though perhaps all might not yet be lost? It is not inconceivable that the England boss could re-install Hart for the World Cup, with the West Ham keeper having made 10 previous starts under the current boss. Hart is back in the Hammers team and an impressive – if unlikely – finish to the season could tempt Southgate to stick to what he knows, especially with the make-up of the defence still unclear.


Ian Watson – 0 caps


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