Forster Frightens Life Out Of Hart And Hodgson!

Last updated : 10 October 2013 By Footy Mad - Editor

Arguably the most significant week for England's senior football team for 12 years as World Cup qualification hangs in the balance.

fNot since Sven Goran Eriksson's England required a mere draw against Greece at Old Trafford in October 2001 has the national team encountered a period where so much is demanded.

Such a perilous situation has been created by as unconvincing a qualification campaign for a World Cup finals as when England last failed to reach international football's grandest stage in 1994.

Only wins against San Marino and Moldova, with an aggregate score across four games of 22-0, has handed England a lifeline and top spot going into the final two games.

England must record wins against their rivals in the group phase, in this case Montenegro and Poland, to book their place in Brazil next summer.

Anything less, and Hodgson will be on the precipice of joining Graham Taylor, Ron Greenwood and Sir Alf Ramsey (although few would tell you) at having failed to take England to a World Cup.

England fans have good reason to fear the worst. While only Belgium possess a better defensive record over eight qualification games, England have become stagnant and unimaginative in attack and generous at best in possession.

Joe Hart used to be the man for such a pressure-filled occasion.

An integral part of City's title win in the 2011/12 season and a cemented part of the England team.

After seven errors which have amounted to goals in 12 games already this season, Hart is threatening to complete one of most ignominious about-turns in England's recent history.

Despite being backed firmly by Hodgson, Hart enters the two biggest games of his life in the most concerning form of his career and with a recent body of work to suggest the big occasion is his undoing.

If Hodgson, as expected, does indeed choose Hart for both qualifiers England will have added pressure.

And with Celtic's Fraser Forster next in line, the weekly events of the Scottish Premiership might hardly represent the acid test for an international bow.

But the Champions League, where the 25 year old has excelled, provides evidence of his abilities and form.

Against both AC Milan and Barcelona, games in which Celtic's survival instincts had to be razor sharp, Forster was heroic.

He may be uncapped, but the international stage represents anything but a far cry from the Champions League.

With over 200 professional appearances from the depths of the English football league to the heights of competition on the continent, Forster knows pressure.

The suggestion of playing Forster ahead of Hart and the hapless John Ruddy evokes memories of Scott Carson's disastrous foray into international football, a scar which has tarnished his standing within English football forever.

But to draw parallels between Forster and Carson is ludicrous.

Should the Celtic stopper be included by Hodgson he will be three years Carson's senior from that night against Croatia.

Then, the ex-Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Carson had played just one full Premier League campaign while Forster has four years behind him as The Bhoys No.1.

Furthermore, he is closing in on Pat Bonner's all-time European appearance record in the Celtic goal.

Forster's selection would no doubt prove a gamble, something Hodgson is prone to doing, but is this one gamble too far?

Hart is no doubt England's No.1 going forward to next year's World Cup and beyond.

Big games make for big decisions and it's one Hodgson can ill afford to get wrong. It may be his last.


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Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (86' Ben Arfa), Gouffran, Sissoko, Remy (71' Gutierrez), Cisse
Subs: Anita, Yanga-Mbiwa, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett

EVERTON 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (Cabaye, Remy)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa (46' Williamson), Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Anita (69' Cisse), Ben Arfa (46' Cabaye), Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy
Subs: Elliot, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett

Krul, Debuchy (86' Tiote), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (62' Gouffran), Anita, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Cisse (73' Marveaux), Remy
Subs: Williamson, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett

ASTON VILLA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ben Arfra, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita (74' Tiote), Cabaye (88' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Remy (63' Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, S Taylor, Dummett

Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita 65' (Cabaye), Marveaux 74' (Remy), Shola Ameobi 65' (Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Gosling, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett

Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux 66' (Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi, Cisse 72'
Subs: Gosling, Bigirimana, Elliot, Vuckic, Dummett

Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tiote, Gouffran 45+4' (Dummett), Ben Arfa 65' (Sammy Ameobi), Gutierrez 44' (Anita), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan


NEWCASTLE 2 LEEDS UTD 0 (Cisse, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gouffran (90' Vuckic), Anita (80' Gosling), Tiote, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Cisse (71' Obertan).
Subs: Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Alnwick

MORECAMBE 0 NEWCASTLE 2 (Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi)
Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux 88' (Sissoko), Vuckic 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi, Gouffran 71' (Ben Arfa)
Subs: Santon, Anita, Alnwick, Streete

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