By Jack Cunningham
Jordan Pickford may well be out injured with the World Cup on the horizon, but England shouldn’t panic as they have two top goalkeepers waiting in the ranks.
Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale are the two obvious candidates for the number one spot, with Pickford on the sidelines.
The Three Lions lost to Italy and face Germany in the final match before the World Cup.
But who should be Gareth Southgate’s undisputed number two and the most likely to challenge the Everton man based on statistics?
Well, talkSPORT.com decided to have a look…
Nick Pope – nine caps
Pope has been one of the signings of the season.
The new Newcastle goalkeeper cost just £10million and has already produced several top saves, and at 6ft 3, he dominates his box.
There were question marks over his ability to play out from the back while he was with Burnley, but under Eddie Howe, he is adjusting to a new playing style, which should help his England chances because no one can question his shot-stopping.
So far this year, the 30-year-old has made 30 saves in the top-flight, including August’s Premier League Save of the Month against Brighton.
He also made several outstanding stops in the Toon’s 3-3 draw with Manchester City.
He has kept three clean sheets from the first seven games and conceded seven goals.
The former Charlton Athletic man has also prevented 1.5 goals and has a save percentage rate of 81.1%.
Pope has completed ten sweeper actions in the Premier League, which is important because of England’s preference for playing a high line.
His passing statistics are also decent, and you can bet Southgate will have a keen eye on those.
The former Burnley man has attempted 130 passes, long and short, in which he has completed 52%, including 30 accurate long balls, and averages 18.57 passes per game.
So Pope is performing well in every aspect of the game, but how does he compare to Ramsdale?
Aaron Ramsdale – three caps
Ramsdale’s rise at Arsenal over the last year has been fantastic.
The 24-year-old started last season behind Bernd Leno, but has now forced the German out of the club.
Mikel Arteta has total faith in Ramsdale, and time is on his side to become England’s goalkeeper for most of his career.
But should he be ahead of Pope in the pecking order?
So far this year, the former Sheffield United man has made 13 saves in the Premier League.
He has no direct errors leading to a goal but has scored -1.4 on goals prevented and owns a save percentage of 65%.
Like Pope, Ramsdale has kept three clean sheets from seven and conceded seven goals.
But he has only made three sweeper actions, which could count against him.
However, his passing statistics are better than Pope’s.
Ramsdale has attempted 175 passes, long and short, in which he has completed 61%, including 38 accurate long balls, and averages 25 passes per game.
Pope v Ramsdale: Premier League stats 2022/23
- Saves: 30
- Clean sheets: Three
- Goals conceded: Seven
- Goals prevented: 1.5
- Save percentage: 81.1%
- Sweeper actions: Ten
- Pass completion: 52%
- Passes per game: 18.57
- Saves: 13
- Clean sheets: Three
- Goals conceded: Seven
- Goals prevented: -1.4
- Save percentage: 65%
- Sweeper actions: Three
- Pass completion: 61%
- Passes per game: 25
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Pope and Ramsdale: What has been said?
David Seaman told talkSPORT: “England’s number one is definitely Jordan Pickford, there’s no doubt about that. He’s been brilliant for England, you can’t question that.
“But he’s out for these two games. I think Nick and Aaron will get a game each.
“For me, Aaron is the number two. Nick is doing really well at Newcastle. From what I am seeing, he has a lot to do at Newcastle, but it’s different with Aaron.
“Arsenal are top of the league; he’s not getting as much to do, but that’s more like playing in an international game, where you don’t get a lot to do and all of a sudden, you are called upon to be at your best.”
So Seaman thinks it should be Ramsdale, but it is arguably too close to call with Pope brilliant at stopping shots and coming off his line and Ramsdale better on the ball.
Either way, Southgate will have a tough choice to make.
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