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England manager Gareth Southgate is set to name Joe Hart in the 23-man squad for the World Cup, but he will only be given a back-up role to first choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, according to reports. 

Pickford is currently leading the race to don England's number one jersey, with Stoke City's Jack Butland not far behind. Hart has been knocked down the pecking order after being dropped by David Moyes at West Ham United. 

Butland is expected to play on Tuesday in the friendly with Italy. The Stoke City goalkeeper spoke about the pecking order with the Daily Mail, saying that he believes he is as comfortable with the ball at his feet as Pickford: 

"I feel my distribution is really good, Jordan plays in a team where perhaps he is allowed to express that a little bit more.

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"I used to be a striker until I was about 13. I like to feel I’m mature, consistent as a keeper and I pride myself on my shot-stopping and presence."

Butland also revealed that he enjoys the competitive aspect of the England squad selection: "It’s a good thing isn’t it, having competition? I enjoy it. We’re all pushing each other. It feels like it will be a close call. It’s how you react, how you are as a character, that’s the biggest test."

Other goalkeepers - Nick Pope, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster - are reportedly now set to miss out on a place in Southgate's England squad, despite Pope, in particular, having a fantastic Premier League campaign. 


It is likely that Hart will be called up simply due to his international experience. With 75 caps to his name, Hart will be useful in Russia in case Pickford or Butland were to suffer injuries before or during the tournament.

England will now look towards their friendly against Italy on Tuesday after their 1-0 win over the Netherlands. Although they seemed comfortable during the game in Amsterdam, it can be argued that the Dutch side were not much of a threat going forward, so they will likely need to step up their game against the Italians.