West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, may have to be a Premier League player to muscle his way ahead of Jordan Pickford in the England pecking order, according to Joseph Masi.
Johnstone’s form in the Premier League last season saw him break into the England set-up, with Gareth Southgate keeping faith with the 28-year-old despite West Brom’s relegation back into the Championship.
In fact, according to Masi, Johnstone is now established as England’s No.2 ahead of Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal) and Nick Pope (Burnley).
He told the Baggies Broadcast: “From what we understand, basically, Sam Johnstone has gone from strength to strength ever since he’s been in the England fold, he became the number two goalkeeper over the summer.
“The big question was how was going to be playing in the Championship affect him, really, and would he fall further down the pecking order?
“Aaron Ramsdale has done very, very well for Arsenal since he’s gone there, £30 million move, I mean, it’s a hell of a lot of money.”
However, if the West Brom man is to get himself ahead of Pickford in the England side at tournament level, he’s likely going to have to be playing Premier League football on a regular basis.
With the next tournament coming in the winter of 2022, it means West Brom will have to deliver Premier League football this season or even sell Johnstone to aid his ambition.
Masi continued: “Sam Johnstone knows in his heart of hearts, he can’t really expect to have any chance, really, of playing for England at the World Cup if he’s playing in the Championship next season.”
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Johnstone has made 10 appearances this season for West Brom in the Championship, helping the Baggies play themselves into the promotion race.
Valerien Ismael’s side sit second as things stand, having won 22 points from 11 fixtures. They trail leaders, AFC Bournemouth, by three points at this stage.
It’s probably unfair to question whether or not Johnstone will be in the England fold at the World Cup if he’s playing in the Championship. Southgate has seen what he can offer in the Premier League and, if that was an issue, he wouldn’t be there right now.
However, you do feel that if Johnstone is to somehow get himself ahead of Pickford in the pecking order, he needs to be playing in the Premier League.
That, then, leaves West Brom under pressure to win promotion and provide Johnstone with a reason to extend his stay at the Hawthorns. He’s out of contract in the summer and, with or without the Baggies, you feel like Johnstone will be playing Premier League football next season.
Thoughts? Let us know!