There’s a famous old Nike advert which features Paolo Maldini and the tagline ‘Italy’s goalkeeper – easiest job in Europe’.
Unfortunately for England, they don’t have Maldini marshalling the defence, so it kind of matters who they have between the sticks.
The race is on to secure that number one shirt for the 2024 European Championship, but who are Gareth Southgate’s front-runners for next summer’s tournament?
Here’s 90min’s ranking of England’s goalkeeping options.
Forster would certainly be a last resort for England and would need five other goalkeepers to pick up injuries just before Euro 2024 rolls around, but he’s someone Southgate has called upon before.
Tottenham’s second-choice goalkeeper got a surprise call-up back in March and does have six England caps to his name already.
However, Forster probably shouldn’t cancel next summer’s holiday plans just yet.
Having made the permanent switch to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2023, Henderson hasn’t enjoyed a great start to life in London.
A serious thigh injury has restricted his game time at Selhurst Park and he also has Sam Johnstone, who inked a new long-term contract following his arrival, to compete with once that passes.
One international cap may not be enough credit in the bank when it comes to selection time.
Steele was a surprise revelation for Brighton during 2022/23, replacing Robert Sanchez partway through the campaign.
The former England Under-21 goalkeeper impressed under Roberto De Zerbi, but has had to share his minutes this term following Bart Verbruggen’s arrival on the south coast.
He’d be a rogue pick for Southgate but certainly doesn’t mind playing out from the back.
While Euro 2024 will almost certainly come too early for Trafford, he is definitely someone to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Now picking up regular Premier League minutes with struggling Burnley, he was the hero of England’s Under-21s triumph at the European Championship in the summer of 2023, saving a stoppage-time penalty against Spain in the final.
Trafford is also getting plenty of experience playing out from the back with Vincent Kompany as his head coach, which bodes well for the future.
If you’re looking for a goalkeeper who is great with his hands and adept at keeping the ball out of the back of his net, then Nick Pope is your man.
The former Burnley man has been in brilliant form ever since he arrived at Newcastle United, culminating in qualification for the Champions League.
Pope has work to do to convince Southgate though, with his distribution and composure with the ball at his feet certainly the weakest part of his game.
Rewind to the beginning of 2023 and Aaron Ramsdale would have been a guaranteed pick for England at Euro 2024.
But with a couple of howling mistakes mixed in with David Raya’s arrival at Arsenal, things are not quite so clear cut now.
Ramsdale has previous call-ups from Southgate to fall back on and may still have enough credit in the bank to make it to another major international tournament. Continue sitting on the bench and that will change.
It’s fair to say that Sam Johnstone wasn’t even in the England conversation prior to his arrival at Crystal Palace.
But ever since he headed to south London, Johnstone has been in inspired form for an Eagles side who continue to impress in the top flight. Southgate likes continuity and consistency, and that’s something the former West Brom stopper certainly offers.
Pickford remains a divisive figure among England supporters, with the Everton goalkeeper having long been criticised for his proneness to gaffes. Juggling the ball off the bar in the 96th minute of the Merseyside derby to gift Divock Origi an open goal springs to mind.
However, Pickford has largely eradicated his error-strewn performances at club level and become far more consistent for the Toffees.
The former Sunderland goalkeeper has always been preferred as Southgate’s first-choice goalkeeper and the England boss has never budged on that decision. That’s probably because Pickford has always been flawless for the Three Lions, seldom putting a foot wrong on the international stage.