There is something curious about the England national team. While pretty much every other country around England’s calibre select players, on merit, from clubs large and small, for decades England appear caught emperor role, seldom selecting players outside a top clutch of clubs.
This made Southampton striker Rickie Lambert’s recent selection memorable, despite the fact that his club sit comfortably above several of England’s heavyweights, significantly as a consequence of Lambert’s play.
Fraser Forster has been the best goalkeeper in Britain for a year, but he is English, and he plays domestic football for the Scottish champions, so despite his Champions League credentials, England Roy Hodgson has not capped him.
With the incumbent “England’s number 1” producing ample material to have most national team managers hide their eyes, no matter what Hodgson thinks of his preferred keeper, today’s news coverage suggests he has been boxed into a corner. If he plays Joe Hart in Brazil, and the keeper performs to his current level, Hodgson will carry the can for being the last man in England to see the obvious. England managers have a long record of having to deal with strong media sentiment coming to bear on their selections.
I’d like to see Fraser get the recognition he deserves. It would also be good for Celtic to be able to offer not only Champions League football, but also the chance to gain international recognition, at an ever-higher level. Holding onto him is another story, but all of those who were so upset when we passed on Stipe Pletikosa to take Newcastle’s third choice will not be too upset at that.
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