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Bywater should go to the World Cup?.....Clough thinks so


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NIGEL Clough feels Derby County's Stephen Bywater should be in with a shout at making the England squad for next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Clough says England are not spoilt for choice when it comes to goalkeepers and sees Bywater as a possible candidate to sneak into the squad as third choice.

The Rams manager has already mentioned the in-form and improving Bywater to Stuart Pearce, who works alongside England coach Fabio Capello and is also manager of the Under-21s.

Bywater, now 28, won six caps for the Under-21s earlier in his career.

Clough, a former England international, said: "When you look at the goalkeepers in the Premier League, which English keepers are above him and better than him?

"You have Robert Green, David James, Chris Kirkland, Ben Foster and Paul Robinson. That's five, who is there beyond that?

"That is why we think Stephen is in the top half-dozen English keepers in the country. I know those picking the England squad always look at form and fitness.

"There have been injury doubts over David James and Chris Kirkland as well, and Ben Foster has not played that many games at his club."

James returned to action for Portsmouth at the weekend after a calf problem. The 39-year-old has also struggled with a knee injury this season.

Kirkland has had his injury problems at Wigan Athletic and Foster admits losing his place at Manchester United could wreck his World Cup chances.

Foster started England's last international against Brazil but has not played for his club since the defeat by Besiktas last month.

"When you look at the big four clubs in the Premier League – Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool – they all have foreign keepers," said Clough.

"The next batch of clubs – Aston Villa, Everton and Tottenham – also have foreign keepers.

"There has been a lot of talk about the keepers at England's disposal, their age and fitness, and there are not too many to choose from.

"For the first time for a long time the number one England keeper does not spring to mind.

"We do not have a Peter Shilton or David Seaman.

"We are not saying Stephen is the best keeper in England but why can't he possibly sneak in as number three for the World Cup if he keeps doing well?"

Bywater has been ever-present for Derby this season and his form in recent weeks has played a key role in the team's unbeaten run of four matches.

"I think Stephen has matured into a good keeper," said Clough.

"He has been consistent and is more calm and composed now. That is something Martin Taylor has been working on with him, to relax because he can be quite an agitated character and wants to be involved in everything.

"The sign of a good keeper is that he comes off the pitch and has not had a save to makew and is happy with that.

"David James suffered many years where he wanted to be involved and that led to him maybe doing rash things.

"I think Stephen is getting over that, hopefully. We like his temperament and he is extremely hard-working in training.

"It (England) might be a bit too soon for him, it might be that we are looking two years down the line for him if nobody else comes through.

"We want our goalkeeping position at Derby to be filled by one person for the next three or four years, and Stephen can do that."


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I think Savage has got more chance of going to the World Cup with Wales. Clough is right by saying England don't have many options for keepers although I think Bywater will be way down the list of options. 3 of the 5 listed above will go to the World Cup. I would guess Green, James and Foster would be the 3 with Robinson on standby.

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Addison are you having a larrrf? Have you two been drinking with Clough?. Addison has is work cut out winning back a first team slot, never mind getting a call up. With Terry, Ferdinand, Lescott, Upson, Woodgate, Richards, Brown....should I go on? Bywater probably has a better chance of a call up than Addison.

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