England announce keeper to start against Lithuania

Gareth Southgate has announced that Jack Butland will start for England against Lithuania.

Butland gets the nod over Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Jordan Pickford.

England secured World Cup qualification last time out, beating Slovenia 1-0 last Thursday.

England number one

At this stage, just like the captaincy, England’s goalkeeping situation ahead of next year’s World Cup is undecided.

Jack Butland, Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Jordan Pickford are the players giving Southgate a selection dilemma.

The two strongest contenders appear to be Butland and Hart.

Hart has been England’s go-to goalkeeper in recent years, making 74 appearances for the Three Lions.

However, Butland, 24-year-old, appears to be the up and coming keeper who is the heir to the number one shirt.

Butland has though proven that he is ready to play a more prominent role for the national team.

Lithuania v England

Having already qualified for Russia 2018, this game presents Southgate with a great opportunity to experiment with his squad.

Players like Harry Maguire, Harry Winks, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Creswell could potentially be handed opportunities to showcase themselves.

Jack Butland is a man who will get to show what he can do and put in a strong case to start for England in Russia.

England will have the returning Dele Alli, who has served his one-match ban from FIFA, following his middle finger-gesture versus Slovakia.

England have comfortably coasted through qualifying winning seven of nine.

The issue is now translating these results onto the big stage at a major tournament.

England were heavily criticised for their performance against Slovenia, with the win only papering over the cracks.

But truth be told, their whole qualifying campaign has really only papered over the cracks.

England, as per usual, must improve as we prepare to enter Wolrd Cup year.