Clemence - Future is bright

England well stocked in the keeper department

Clemence: Impressed

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Ray Clemence expects England's young keepers to be pushing for a starting role in the near future.

The legendary Liverpool and Tottenham shot-stopper made 61 international appearances himself during a glittering player career, making him the ideal man to pass judgement on today's exciting prospects.

Clemence admits that current national No.1 David James is in the form of his life, but has warned him not to get complacent with a host of young pretenders ready to take his crown.

The likes of Ben Foster, Chris Kirkland and Joe Hart are all expected to have promising futures and will be hoping to be given their chance by Fabio Capello sooner rather than later.

Dedication

"The England goalkeeping situation is a lot better than it was four or five years ago," said Clemence.

"You then had three English keepers in the Premier League and all of them were aged over 30: David James, David Seaman and Nigel Martyn.

"Now, if you look, we have got seven and only David James is over 30. He is playing out of his skin but all of a sudden we are getting some English keepers playing in the Premier League on a regular basis.

"The one who did extremely well until he was injured was Ben Foster. He is back to fitness now and he is another one who will be pushing to play in the Premier League next year as well. It is starting to turn around slowly.

"To get to the top, you have to have ability but also show dedication and keep working all the way through, learning and improving - and that is what we have got now.

Credit

"We have got a lot of young keepers who have got into their first teams, are improving and their dedication to the job is superb.

"Robert Green has come good at West Ham, while Chris Kirkland at Wigan has probably had his best season in terms of injuries this year and that is what he needed, to play lots of games.

"Then there is Joe Hart at Manchester City and I have to congratulate Sven Goran Eriksson on his bravery in putting him in at 20 and telling him he is in basically for the season.

"It has taken enormous pressure off him and Joe knows if he does make a mistake, he will still be in the side the following game and that has shown in his performances."

Clemence added: "I would imagine the last two years have been the two most consistent years of David James' career.

"People said when he made the mistake against Austria (in 2004) that he was finished with England. That was because of the age he was but you have to give him credit.

Role model

"He has never given up, never said he was retiring from international football, has kept working hard.

"He is a great role model for young keepers in terms of how he works physically and technically at the game and it has come good for him again.

"But we have now got people coming through. Some are not quite ready yet, some could go in and not let us down.

"Now all these young keepers have got to work hard and keep improving and try to take the place off David.

"When the friendlies come along, I am sure that is the time Fabio will say 'I need to look at one or two of them' so watch this space."