The Intractable Problem Of England Goalkeepers

When the concept of the Premier League was being sold to a sceptical (though, with the benefit of hindsight, not sceptical enough) public in the early 1990s, the benefit to the England team was pushed hard. Off the back of the national teams run to the 1990 World Cup semi-finals and the FA’s Blueprint For Football, the Premier League would be slimmed down to eighteen clubs with rest weeks for international matches. Of course, almost all of this was compromised. The clubs baulked at the idea of losing four home matches per season and a compromise of twenty clubs was eventually agreed (after starting with twenty-two clubs), and any pretence of symbiosis between the club and national games soon gave way to the near explicit hostility that exists between the two today. On the pitch, few forsaw the changes to the transfer market that would change the face of English club football forever. Bosman was a seismic shock to English football and has, in its own way, changed the game forever. Many clubs have hacked away at their scouting networks and youth academies – why spend large amounts of money bringing young English players through when you can sign something approaching the finished article from abroad? – and the majority of English players in the Premier League now inhabit the lower reaches of the division. For the England team,...

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