It would be interesting to see a market on when Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s next senior appearance will come, although England’s first World Cup 2018 qualifier against Slovakia would likely be the warm favourite.
New City boss Pep Guardiola has picked 34-year-old Argentine Willy Caballero for the two-time Premier League champions’ first match of the campaign at home to Sunderland, effectively ending Hart’s six-season spell as Etihad number one.
Guardiola is thought to fancy Barcelona’s Champions League custodian Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the 24-year-old Germany international struggling to get La Liga game time under Camp Nou gaffer Luis Enrique.
A scramble may now ensue for the 29-year-old Shrewsbury native, who could find himself in City’s reserves if he sticks around Manchester beyond the end of this month.
What will worry Hart even more is his England place, with a trio of top keepers on the 63-cap stopper’s heels and all three expected to be picked week in, week out for their clubs this term.
Southampton’s Fraser Forster may have the biggest claim to start Three Lions boss Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge, after the 28-year-old took last February’s Premier League Player of the Month award following his record-breaking 708 minutes without picking the ball out of the net.
Stoke’s Jack Butland, who missed Euro 2016 and his side’s opening-day draw against Middlesbrough with successive ankle injuries, will also fancy his chances if returning to fitness in time.
Even Burnley’s Tom Heaton, who went to France in Butland’s place having been fourth choice in qualifying, should have more opportunities to impress Allardyce than Hart after playing in all of his side’s league matches over the past three seasons.
With the greatest football show on earth returning to European shores (kind of) in just under two years’ time, England are 20/1 with bwin to lift the World Cup in Russia, significantly shorter than Roy Hodgson’s boys were at this stage of the 2014 cycle.