As the England side train at St George’s Park in anticipation of the upcoming friendlies with the Netherlands and Italy, there are several positions in the team that are not yet nailed down for the opening fixture in Russia this summer, none more so than the coveted goalkeeper’s jersey.
The title of England’s Number 1 never used to be in doubt, with Joe Hart (£0.78) being one of the first names on the team sheet. But ever since Pep Guardiola rode into the Etihad at the beginning of last season, his form has steadily declined with loan moves to Torino in Italy and this season with West Ham United. Such has been the decline that in recent times, the Hammers manager, David Moyes, has elected to start Adrian on several occasions this season. It’s this form that has blown the race for the number 1 jersey in Russia wide open!
On the trending tab, this morning was Burnley’s Nick Pope (£0.80) who could be in line for a debut in the friendlies in the coming week. The Clarets man has enjoyed a fine season and is currently top of Whoscored.com’s ranking of Premier League stoppers with more than five performances and a ranking of 7.01. Beating the likes of David De Gea (£1.02) and Ederson (£1.09). It’s this level of performance that has seen him called up by Gareth Southgate and it appears to have caught traders imagination also with a 12p rise in the last 24 hours alone. Will we soon be seeing ‘The Pope Saves’ headlines in Russia?
Other options for the coveted jersey come from Stoke City’s Jack Butland (£0.88) who himself is up 10p in the last month as Indexers speculate who will be between the sticks for the World Cup. The fourth option within the squad is Everton’s young stopper Jordan Pickford (£0.77). The former Sunderland man has enjoyed a modest rise on the Index in the last 7 days of 3p but a start against either the Netherlands or Italy is sure to have an impact on his values.
The England goalkeeper is just one piece of the jigsaw for Gareth Southgate to solve but the fact the race is wide open offers Traders several opportunities!