Stoke City and Southampton stoppers handed big England chance

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When Joe Hart was stretchered off of Manchester City’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United, fans inside the Etihad would have been fearing the worst.

However, for two Premier League goalkeepers, the England number one’s injury gives them a rare opportunity to showcase their international worth.

Jack Butland of Stoke City and Fraser Forster of Southampton are Hart’s two understudies and his calf problem allows them a chance to add to their caps.

Both have only represented the senior national side three times due to the Man City stopper’s dominance in the position, but now have a chance to put pressure on the 28-year-old.

The Three Lions have two friendlies coming up and you would imagine that Roy Hodgson will share starting duties between the keepers for the matches with Germany and the Netherlands.

A good performance for either would enhance their chances of displacing Hart at Euro 2016 and given their form this campaign, the injured custodian should be worried.

Butland has been terrific for Stoke this term and has been a massive contributing factor to them sitting eighth in the Premier League.

The Potters man has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, managing 103 stops.

Swansea City’s Lukasz Fabianski is his closest competitor on 92, while Hart is the nearest Englishman on 60.

Furthermore, only Tim Howard has a better saves per game ratio than Butland among keepers who have made 20 or more Premier League appearances this term.

Meanwhile, Forster has done well after returning to the Southampton starting line up following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The former Celtic man has kept seven clean sheets in his 11 top flight appearances and didn’t concede for 615 minutes upon his return to first-team duties.

However, he has let in six in his last four games and isn’t looking as invincible as he did immediately after getting back into the team.

Thus, these statistics suggest that Butland has the best case to replace Hart, but will need to be at his best when given a chance to keep Forster at bay.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.