Keepers make mistakes so back off England's undisputed No 1 Hart… Useless Liverpool need Carragher… And make Arsenal play away on Boxing Day (at Stoke)
09:52 GMT, 27 December 2012
I hope Joe Hart didn’t bother looking at Twitter on Boxing Night. According to some tweeters, he became the first top class goalkeeper to ever make a mistake. Every goalkeeper in history has made mistakes.
From a Manchester City point of view I’d be more worried about Aguero and Tevez failing to score again. From an England point of view the question is whether Joe Hart has been dislodged from his position as the number one keeper
The only realistic contender is Fraser Forster (who made a mistake earlier this season against Kilmarnock). I rate Forster very highly and I've always been puzzled why he never received an Under 21 call-up.
Jeepers keepers: Joe Hart was caught out of position for Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland
Hart hurts: The Manchester City and England No 1 was consoled after the defeat
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Thankfully, his ability has now been recognised by Roy Hodgson and he's now in the England squad, although yet to make his debut.
I first noticed Forster when he had a season on loan at Norwich and helped them win the League One title in 2010.
He broke records for keeping clean sheets and was voted player of the season by his Norwich team-mates. He was superb that season.
Able deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jersey
He was also sent off against Gillingham,
and gifted Leeds a last-minute winner when the two sides met. I’m not
criticising Forster, I’m just highlighting the fact that all goalkeepers
will make mistakes.
I hope Hodgson gives Forster some minutes on the pitch when England meet Brazil in a friendly at Wembley in February.
But let's keep it real – Joe Hart is the undisputed No 1 with the current English champions. England fans should be proud of him.
USELESS LIVERPOOL NEED CARRAGHER
I see Liverpool were useless again. There has been a lot said about Brendan Rodgers being short of firepower, with Luis Suarez the only recognised striker at the club.
But I’m wondering what’s happening at the other end of the pitch Liverpool have conceded eight goals in their last four games, and the goals Stoke scored on Boxing Day were cheap to say the least.
Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are the preferred partnership but they’re not doing their jobs properly and it’s costing Liverpool points.
Get back: Defender Jamie Carragher watched Liverpool's Boxing Day defeat by Stoke from the bench
Perhaps it’s time for Jamie Carragher to come back into the first team. Liverpool clearly need leadership at the back, and Carragher would provide that.
He celebrates his 35th birthday next month, so he’s not the long term answer. But stability at the back would help Liverpool right now, and give some of the younger players another respected pro to look up to in the dressing room.
MAKE ARSENAL PLAY AWAY ON BOXING DAY… AT STOKE!
I still can’t quite get my head round Arsenal Football Club's inability to stage a Premier League game on Boxing Day because of a tube strike.
They talked to the police and others before taking the decision, saying the 'paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham supporters, matchday employees and everyone who was planning to attend the game.'
I went to Craven Cottage on Boxing Day
and had no problem getting to or from the game by car. Just up the road,
Queens Park Rangers also had a home game – combined crowd at the
Cottage and at Loftus Road was just over 43,000.
Capital gains: Fulham and Southampton managed to defy the London tube strike at Craven Cottage
Happy shoppers: Westfield Shopping Center was full to the rafters despite the tube strike
Then throw in the thousands who packed Westfield shopping centre literally round the corner from QPR's ground and you start to realise the enormity of Boxing Day in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
It doesn’t reflect well on Arsenal that they couldn't stage their game. They've had extra rest time, and the fixture will be played at the end of January when the Gunners may already have made signings in the transfer window.
The Gunners got what they deserved with Spurs, Everton and West Brom all winning and going above them.
The best way around this in the future (Arsenal also postponed this fixture last season) is to force Arsenal to play away on Boxing Day. Ideally at Stoke.
HODGSON MUST FOLLOW FERGIE'S LEAD AND KEEP FAITH IN CARRICK
I've always been an admirer of Michael Carrick and have struggled to understand why Sir Alex Ferguson has faith in him but no England manager over the past ten years has felt the same way.
Fergie has been successful, all those England managers failed miserably. You do the maths.
So I watched Carrick at Swansea put in his usual display of world class passing, and regularly breaking up play. Then in the 4-3 win over Newcastle, Carrick was roasted by his critics for giving the ball away in the build up to Newcastle's opener.
Keep the faith: Michael Carrick was instrumental in Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle
Those same critics were strangely quiet when Carrick found Hernandez with a precision pass for the winner. And, indeed, they said nothing when he poked an instinctive ball to set up Robin van Persie for his goal.
England have always struggled to keep possession, and yet one of the best passers of the ball in the Premier League has consistently been overlooked.
People only want to talk about Carrick's mistakes. That's probably why he rarely gets talked about.
Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough