David Seaman has urged England manager Gareth Southgate to stick with Joe Hart for next summer’s World Cup.
Hart will equal Seaman’s 75 England caps if he plays against either Germany or Brazil in November but the West Ham goalkeeper has come under scrutiny in recent months.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Stoke’s Jack Butland and Southampton stopper Fraser Forster are alternative options for England but Southgate has so far opted against a change between the sticks.
Seaman, who played at four international tournaments for England, believes Hart would be the right choice in Russia.
“I would stay with Joe. For me Joe is still England’s number one,” Seaman said.
“The level he’s played at for a long time is really good. Now the other guys are getting closer. That will push him.
“I had the same situation when I was with England I knew the other goalkeepers were getting closer, it just made me try and train a little bit harder and try to play better.”
Pickford, Butland and Forster have all endured difficult starts to the season, with Everton and Stoke both struggling in the Premier League’s bottom four.
Forster, meanwhile, has managed four clean sheets for Southampton but he was also out of sorts against Newcastle earlier this month.
“Pickford has moved to Everton and they’re having a bad time at the moment,” Seaman said.
“You look at the others like Forster, they’re there or thereabouts but it’s a big step from where they are at club level to playing for England.
“There are two friendlies coming up now so ideally they’ll get a chance because if anything does happen to Joe, you don’t want to be chucking someone in.
“I remember when Scott Carson got thrown in (against Croatia in 2007), he made a mistake in the first five minutes and it wrecked his game. I think he found it really hard to recover from that.”