'No one is pressing Joe Hart, it's not healthy,' says Gordon Banks

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The Independent Football

Gordon Banks, widely regarded as England's greatest goalkeeper, is concerned by the lack of depth among his potential successors, for which he blames the number of foreign keepers in the Premier League and difficulties brought about by modern footballs.

While Joe Hart is the undisputed No 1, other contenders such as Robert Green, Scott Carson, David Stockdale, John Ruddy and Fraser Forster have been unable to establish themselves.

Banks, who won 73 caps and the 1966 World Cup, says: "We're very thin on the ground. Joe Hart's a good goalkeeper but there's nobody pressing him, and that's not a good thing.

"I'm not exaggerating, when I played you could count maybe five goalkeepers that could have come in and done a good job. That's why every game I had to keep on my toes.

"I don't think we're giving our youngsters that are coming through the academies a chance to play when they're young. I can't understand that. Foreigners are coming in and taking their positions.

"The other thing I think is detrimental is the balls. The ball is very light. Think of a 12-year-old lad who's out there kicking a ball about and goes in goal and they're knocking goals past him while he's being told, 'Get hold of it, you're rubbish'. He now says, 'Sod this, I'm going to play out[field]'.

"You can see it on television, a shot coming this way and suddenly goes that way. I saw Petr Cech make a save from one shot, he's diving to his left and he has to lift his leg up to kick it clear, that's the ball moving in the air. It's detrimental, it's not helping the goalkeepers."

Banks regards Cech as the best in the Premier League and believes Asmir Begovic at his old club Stoke is more reliable than Manchester United's David de Gea.

"I think Begovic is excellent, one of the best. He's only 25 and he does look very good in the air and on his line. De Gea has come on, but for me, on crosses and through- balls, you can't tell when he's going to make a mistake."