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ICYMI |Freeview | Macca On The World Cup Keepers

Town keeper, James McKeown has a rant about Joe Hart’s omission from England’s World Cup squad, tells us about the time when he faced England and Burnley keeper, Nick Pope, and the time when Macca was lobbed by Jamie Vardy.

28 May 2018

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“So I don’t understand how Butland can get relegated, and then him not take Joe Hart based on form.”

James McKeown on Hart's omission from the England squad.

With the Sky Bet League Two close season in full-swing, Grimsby Town goalkeeper James McKeown has been looking ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, evaluating England’s chances, and discussing Gareth Southgate’s side’s goalkeeper situation.

The 28-year-old, who signed a new three-year deal with the Mariners earlier this week, says England can achieve success in Russia if the players can foster a belief and positive mentality.

Speaking exclusively on iFollow Mariners, he said: “Hopefully they will. I’m sure there’ll be a couple of good days in the summer watching them, and it would be nice to see them do it.

“I don’t see why they can’t progress. I think there’s an element of, when England play now, that people just automatically assume that they’re going to fail at a certain point.

“I think the tough job that an England manager has at the minute is to make sure that that doesn’t feed through to the players, which it’s going to because they’re on their phones.

“It’s the same with any player – people pretend that they don’t read it, but they do, or their families do.

“It’s exactly the same with England – people have grown accustomed to ‘Oh, they’ll probably get out their group and then lose in the quarter-finals.’

“But, realistically, they’re playing in one of the top two leagues in the world maybe, with Spain, and some of the biggest clubs in the world, so there’s no reason why those footballers aren’t good enough to go and succeed.”

But McKeown disagreed with the omission of goalkeeper Joe Hart from the England squad, as Southgate chose Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, and Nick Pope.

He said: “I think it’s a shambles if I’m honest. I’m sure he’d be the first to say that the last two years of his career have not gone well.

“But two years ago he was at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and was spoken about as one of the best goalies in the world.

“He didn’t fit Guardiola – that’s fine – he went out on loan to Torino, he’s obviously not had a great season at West Ham, but I don’t understand how he can play every single minute of the qualifying campaign, and then not be good enough to be in the best three goalies.

“If you’re picking players on form, which is how it should be, then Pickford will play, but Butland got relegated.

“So I don’t understand how Butland can get relegated, and then him not take Joe Hart based on form.”

And McKeown praised the rise of Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who played against Town in the Mariners’ 3-0 win over Aldershot in the National League in 2013.

He said: “I remember playing against him – he was good, but you never thought he was go and play in the Premier League, and I’ve played with a few people like that.

“He’s done so well. He’s had plenty of setbacks and, as an individual, you do. You hope they don’t last for long, but you have to move forward and be mentally strong.

“And that’s the only way you’re successful – the best players, or the people who are successful in life, all do it – you can’t succeed without failing.

“I played against Jamie Vardy in my first year here – I remember thinking ‘You’ve not done much,’ and then he lobbed me.”

The Town goalkeeper added that he thinks Argentina will win the World Cup, and highlighted David de Gea and Hugo Lloris as goalkeepers to watch in the tournament.

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