Joe Hart's rather indifferent form of late has become a point of national contention and international jest. Once viewed as head and shoulders* above the rest of England's (admittedly sparse) goalkeeping pool, football now seems divided as to his quality. Relegated to the bench for the last two Manchester City matches, and with the papers carrying stories about his club searching for a more consistent first-team starter, there have been national rumbles about the security of Hart's position - the penalty shootout from last year's Euro semifinal and gaffes such as those against Scotland are still fresh on English minds.
*This is the last Head & Shoulders joke I'll make, I promise
Enter Fraser Forster. On October 27th, when Hart made his most recent (and admittedly hilarious) mistake against Chelsea, Forster was backstopping Celtic to a routine 2-1 victory at Partick Thistle. Admittedly, the Scottish Premier League is several shades bellow England's national league, and Forster has the added bonus of playing for Celtic, the league's major power. However, it's in the Champion's League where Forster's excellence has been revealed. Against top sides, especially, Barcelona, Fortster has performed admirably. Neil Lennon has stated that Forster deserves a shot, and given Hart's recent lack of action, I would agree.
I'm a huge fan of Forster. After finally being given his chance with Celtic, I think he has grown to be a real contender for England's spot between the sticks. Under Neil Lennon, he's grown in leaps and bounds, and the boy who starred under Paul Lambert at Norwich in League One four years ago has grown into a man who has performed well under the bright lights of the Champion's League. Perhaps the most obvious indication of Forster's usefulness is the form of his competition for starting goalkeeper. Beyond Hart, John Ruddy has been in mediocre form, Jack Butland doesn't have top-flight experience, and the less said about Robert Green the better. Forster is England's only other established option, and, should Hart go down in Brazil, will be England's only real starting option; it's only right that he gets a chance to show us what he can do.
The Mirror believes that Forster will be starting today - and if he does, it will be fully deserved.