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England's No.1: Who are the favourites to be goalkeeper for Euro 2021?

18:00 GMT+3 22/03/2020
England goalkeepers GFX Nick Pope Jordan Pickford Dean Henderson
Jordan Pickford has been first choice in recent years, but finds his position under threat from the likes of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson

Now that Euro 2020 has been pushed back to Euro 2021, England's dilemma over their goalkeeping situation has been pushed firmly into the back seat.

Gareth Southgate had been facing a difficult call over who would start between the posts for the Three Lions' opening group game against Croatia on June 14.

Now, those vying for the position will have some extra time to find their form and stake a claim to be England's No.1.

For England’s disastrous campaign at Euro 2016, it was Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster who made the cut - but none of the three were in the squad for the World Cup two years later.

The gloves are there to be won – but who are the contenders to wear them?

Jordan Pickford

Everton goalkeeper Pickford is the favourite to start the first game, by virtue of being England’s current No.1.

The 26-year-old now has well over 100 Premier League appearances under his belt, as well as 24 full international caps.

Pickford won plaudits for his displays at the 2018 World Cup, and was instrumental in the penalty shoot-out win over Colombia.

However, his club form has been erratic in recent seasons.

Southgate has faced calls to drop him after a number of high-profile mistakes, and he is far from guaranteed the starting spot he might have expected to have at this point of his career.

With 29 games played, Pickford has kept just six clean sheets in the Premier League this season.

He recently hit back at criticism from pundits including Gary Neville, saying "everyone hates you" as an England player.

Nick Pope

Currently leading the Premier League clean sheets chart is Burnley’s Pope, and the 27-year-old may feel the Euros are his opportunity to shine.

The shot-stopper currently has just two senior international caps to his name, having found himself behind Pickford and Hart in the past.

That relative inexperience may have hurt his chances, with Southgate perhaps unwilling to make such a big call on the cusp of an international tournament. Now, he has more time on his side.

Regardless, he has inarguably been one of the stand-out performers in his position in the Premier League this season.

Pope has also kept clean sheets on both of his England appearances to date – a 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in 2018, and a 4-0 thrashing of Kosovo in European qualifying in November 2019.

Dean Henderson

Henderson has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with Sheffield United this season, his first in the Premier League.

On loan from Manchester United, Henderson has registered 10 clean sheets from 27 league games, and is many fans’ favourite to start at the Euros.

There are currently questions around his club future, with calls for him to replace the declining David de Gea at Old Trafford next season. Such a move would help his chances, providing he continues to start regularly.

Like Pope, his lack of caps mean it would be a surprise to see Southgate pick him to start over the more experienced Pickford.

Henderson is yet to make his senior international debut, but should be expected to make the final squad to gain experience of an international tournament.

Outsiders: Ramsdale, Forster, Foster, McCarthy

A number of other goalkeepers have made a claim this season and could make the squad, though it would be a shock to see any of them play.

Aaron Ramsdale has broken into Bournemouth’s first team at the age of 21 and could be sent to gain experience, though the Cherries’ struggles are evidenced by his meagre tally of four clean sheets.

Fraser Forster, who once looked like taking the No.1 shirt during his time at Southampton, is first-choice once again at Celtic and may be keen to add to his six caps to date.

More experienced is the 36-year-old Ben Foster, though he has a similar number of senior international appearances with eight. And despite Watford fighting relegation, he has more clean sheets to his name than De Gea, Ederson, Bernd Leno, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Rui Patricio – and Pickford.

Alex McCarthy of Southampton turned 30 at the end of last year and has been called up to the England squad on a number of occasions, though he only has one appearance to show for it.

He played in a 3-0 win over the United States in November 2018, but is slipping off the radar as he battles with 24-year-old Angus Gunn for the goalkeeping position at Southampton.