Drop England keeper for crucial qualifier? ... because it worked so well last time

England Wembley

Some sections of the media are still calling on Fraser Forster to play against Montenegro and not Joe Hart ... Scott Carson and Paul Robinson anyone?

Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he seriously considered dropping Joe Hart for the Premier League tie against Everton this weekend. Despite harsh critics saying he should have stopped Romelu Lukaku’s goal (goalkeepers union) he managed to put behind him the horror show that was Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.

But while Pellegrini openly admitted that he considered dropping the stopper for the upcoming fixture, his national team coach has been far more supportive - thank heavens.

Personally I think Roy Hodgson does need to consider his options between the posts. Hart has been off form for a year now, and his natural abilities are being let down by his other frailties.

He appears to have taken his eye off the ball, and a wake-up call is just what he needs. I also do not buy into this ‘we don’t have goalkeeper options’ nonsense. Rob Green is the best keeper in the Championship at the moment, Fraser Forster kept Barcelona at bay the other night in tremendous style, a fit Ben Foster is a competent stopper … as is John Ruddy.

Sure we don’t have the splendours of Belgium, Spain or Holland when it comes to goalkeeping talent, but not many nations do.

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But the timing of giving other stoppers a chance is absolutely crucial, I mean what happened the last time we dropped our number one, before a crucial World Cup qualifier, against a Balkan side, at Wembley?

Paul Robinson had endured a rough patch for both club and country so Steve McClaren dropped him for a crunch qualifier against Croatia at Wembley. The rest is history, as his replacement Scott Carson had a howler and Slaven Bilic’s men dumped us out at the qualifying stage.

Robinson never played for England again and Carson barely scratched the surface - two international goalkeeper careers ruined in one wet night.

Dropping Hart now would pile pressure on to whoever he started in his place, likely to be the uncapped Celtic stopper Forster.

In a tie like this, of such crucial importance, the idea that we should drop our number one is a risk to far - although I agree Hart is woefully out of shape.

But drop Hart for Forster on Friday night and regardless of the weather forecast, it’ll be raining on Roy Hodgson just like it did McClaren in 2007.

image: © braveheartsportsnetwork

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