Ray Clemence looks at the U19s goalkeeping choices.
UEFA European U19 Championship
First Qualifying Round
Albania, Belgium, Cyprus, England
8-13 October 2010
Malmedy & Vise, Belgium
Click here for fixtures
As The FA’s Head of National Teams, former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence is certainly in a good position to judge the choices at U19s Head Coach Noel Blake’s disposal.
The Young Lions have been preparing for the First Qualifying Round of this season’s European U19 Championship this week and Clemence was there to cast an eye over things ahead of the trip to Belgium.
Clemence is also involved with coaching the goalkeepers with the Senior team, and revealed to FATV that he feels there is no shortage of stoppers for Blake to pick from.
Manchester United’s Sam Johnstone and Norwich’s Jed Steer are in the 18-man squad this time, but both Jack Butland (Birmingham City) and Lee Nicholls (Wigan Athletic) have been chosen previously and Clemence has liked what he has seen.
"We've got a number of goalkeepers to choose from,” he explained.
"Jack Butland was with the U17s last year and did exceptionally well. He's not here with this squad, but I'm sure he would have been had he been fit.
"Sam Johnstone has been with the England squad since he was 16 years of age and so has Jed Steer.
"So there has been a consistency in terms of goalkeepers, with them moving on and moving forwards and I would have no problem with whoever Noel selects for this tournament because they're all very good goalkeepers.”
However, the former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur stalwart was quick to point out that their progression at international level can be quickly stunted should they not develop on the domestic front too.
"They're progressing well at the moment, but they will at some stage, especially as far as goalkeeping is concerned, need to start playing first team football,” he added.
"That's where you go back to Joe Hart as an example, because he had a fair amount of football with Shrewsbury before he went to Manchester City.
“He played a bit at Manchester City and then had a very, very important season on loan at Birmingham last year where he appeared to iron out a lot of the errors that were in his game and now he’s keeping Shay Given out of the City team and in the Senior team for England.”Watch the full interview with Ray Clemence now by clicking the link to the right.