Something deeply unsettling and puzzling is going on within the England goalkeeping selection committee.
If there is such a thing.
Whilst the rest of the squad essentially picks itself with the odd emerging youth prodigy making a shout for themselves, the goalkeeping reinforcements have always caused plenty of head scratching.
Jordan Pickford is Gareth Southgate’s undisputed number one, with Jack Butland and Alex McCarthy joining him in the ranks.
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But the news that, after attacking midfielders Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana pulled out through injury, Fulham stopper Marcus Bettinelli was their natural replacement came as a real curve ball.
Sure, Bettinelli has excelled for the Cottagers so far this season, but four goalkeepers Gareth? Four? That’s insane!
But the peculiar manoeuvre by Southgate and his selection cronies is nothing new.
In the last 10 to 15 years a number of weird and wacky goalkeepers have earned surprise call ups and typically never been seen again on the international stage.
Current Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis was a prominent figure throughout the England youth setup about a decade ago.
In May 2008, whilst at then League Two side Peterborough, Lewis was drafted into the senior England squad as a replacement for the injured Chris Kirkland.
His list of other Football League clubs include Norwich, Stockport, Morecambe, Cardiff, Blackpool and Fulham.
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Then we move onto Fielding.
Fielding is now at Bristol City but embarked on eight loan moves at six different clubs in just four years between 2007 and 2011 whilst still officially at Blackburn player.
Yet in that time, in August 2010, he also earned a surprise call up despite never previously playing above the third tier.
Stockdale, now of Birmingham City fame, is another England shot stopper who has been absolutely everywhere in the Football League.
In just over 12 years as a professional he’s represented York, Darlington, Fulham, Rotherham, Leicester, Plymouth, Ipswich, Hull, Brighton and now Birmingham.
His career high arrived when Fabio Capello came calling for an Euro 2012 qualifier in August 2011, only to see his hopes dashed by his own marriage as he was forced to pull out.
You’re better than that, David.
The recurring theme from the three goalkeepers listed? None of them ever actually went onto play for England, pretty much disappearing into the abyss not long after too.
Will Bettinelli follow in the same footsteps as Pickford? Or will he also succumb to the bizarre goalkeeper curse?
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