Carson tipped to push for Robinson's No 1 spot

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The Independent Online

Scott Carson, the Charlton Athletic goalkeeper, is fast emerging as the country's most exciting prospect between the posts and, according to his team-mate Luke Young, could soon pose a serious threat to Paul Robinson's place in the England side.

Carson is on a season-long loan at The Valley from Liverpool and produced two excellent saves to help Charlton beat Chesterfield 4-3 in Tuesday night's penalty shoot-out and book their place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

The 21-year-old was part of England's World Cup squad in Germany during the summer and Young believes his rise to prominence will continue to gather momentum.

The England defender said: "Since Scott came to Charlton he's been an absolute revelation and made save after save. A lot of the clean sheets we've been getting have been largely down to Scott making a number of saves late on in games.

"He did it again on penalties against Chesterfield and basically got us through to the quarter-finals," Young added. "It's early days with Scott at the moment and he's only 21.

"People forget that because he looks a lot older, but give him time to settle into a Premiership club and he will become a top goalkeeper."

Carson is justifying the hype which surrounded his emergence at Leeds United two years ago and persuaded the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, to pay £750,000 for his signature in January 2005.

The 6ft 3in Whitehaven-born keeper signed a new contract at Anfield in the summer that extended his previous deal by two years.

His rich run of form, coupled with Jose Reina's inconsistency, could yet see him recalled by Benitez in January if the Liverpool manager decides to activate a clause in the loan deal.

However, regular Premiership football is allowing Carson to flourish at The Valley and he seems certain to be included in the senior England squad for next week's friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

With David James having been discarded by the England manager, Steve McClaren, there appears to be three main candidates in line to challenge Tottenham's Robinson in the side.

Young added: "Ben Foster, Chris Kirkland and Scott are the three challenging Robbo now because McClaren probably thinks David James is a bit too old. With the way Scott is playing there is no reason why he can't be in and around the squad and pushing hard for a place. He's a very good keeper to play with. He always lets you know if there's a man coming and where you should be.

"If you're not in the right position then he'll let you know and as a defender that's what you want."

Carson had kept clean sheets in three successive matches prior to Tuesday's cup-tie at Saltergate.

Ultimately, however, his contribution proved the most crucial as his heroics in the penalty shoot-out guided Charlton into the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time in the club's history.

Ian Dowie, the Charlton manager, said: "Scott is very agile and he made a couple of great saves for two of the penalties. He's a top-class keeper and that's why I brought him to the club.

"If he's ahead of someone of the quality of Thomas Myhre then you know he's got to be a good keeper.

"Thankfully we've got him for the season," Dowie added, "although there is a clause in the loan that Liverpool can recall him in January."

Carson's outstanding form has coincided with Charlton's own mini-revival - they are now unbeaten in five games - and Young is also hoping to capitalise on his side's improved results by winning an international recall.

"I haven't given up on the England squad," he said, "and if I can keep plugging away and get myself back in there then I'll be delighted. I've still got a chance but I'm 27 now so I need to get back in as soon as possible."

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