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Gordan Banks backs Jack Butland to be England No. 1 at World Cup

England's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks believes Jack Butland is the best man to wear the No. 1 jersey for the Three Lions at Russia 2018 next summer.

Named FIFA's goalkeeper of the year six times, Banks will be one of the eight "assistants" during Friday's World Cup draw in Moscow -- a famous former player from each of the seven nations to have won a World Cup, as well as one from the hosts.

Speaking to reporters at a preview event on Thursday, the 79-year-old Yorkshireman said choosing England's starting goalkeeper now is "very difficult." given the number of candidates, but he has a clear preference.

Banks said: "I've seen Jack Butland play for Stoke and he looks a very good goalkeeper.

"He's had so much bad luck with injuries -- first, when his ankle went [in a friendly before Euro 2016] and then he broke his finger in a training session before the most recent friendlies, so that was bad.

"But I'm hoping the manager will give him a test in the friendlies before the World Cup starts and, if he plays well, I would keep him in there."

Jack Butland
Jack Butland should start for England at the World Cup, says Gordon Banks.

Banks, of course, joined Stoke a year after the 1966 World Cup and was still England and Stoke's number one when a car crash in 1972 left him blind in one eye -- an injury that cost him his career.

He is not, however, the only former England shot-stopper in the Russian capital for the draw, as fellow Yorkshireman David Seaman is also here working with one of the sponsors.

England's goalkeeper at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, Seaman is more of a status quo man than Banks.

When asked who he would pick, the 54-year-old said: "It's still Joe Hart for me -- he has a lot of experience in the World Cup and also in the Champions League.

"The others are getting closer, though. Jordan Pickford and Fraser Forster are getting closer but Joe Hart is still number one for me."

Hart, on loan at West Ham from Manchester City, was an unused substitute at South Africa 2010 but was England's goalkeeper for the defeats to Italy and Uruguay at Brazil 2014.


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