Southampton’s Alex McCarthy can challenge Jordan Pickford for England No 1, says Mark Hughes

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Alex McCarthy
Alex McCarthy

McCarthy was named alongside Pickford and Jack Butland for the matches at Wembley against Spain on September 8 and Switzerland on September 11.

The 28-year-old replaced Fraser Forster as Southampton’s number one last season, making 18 Premier League appearances, and Hughes is convinced he has the ability to make it at international level.

Speaking about McCarthy’s call-up, Hughes said: “We’re delighted with that. I think he deserves it. His fundamentals are very sound.

“He’s a big guy but very mobile, very dynamic in his box as well. He’s a top level keeper and will push whoever’s in possession of the shirt, I’m sure.”

McCarthy has started in all three of the Saints matches this season and starred on the opening weekend with a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Burnley

After joining from Crystal Palace in 2016, he played a key part in Southampton’s survival last season, helping them to a 17th-place finish.

Mark Hughes was keen to reward McCarthy for his performances last season

McCarthy was rewarded for his form with a new four-year deal in June and Hughes is glad to have him at the club for the long term.

“Given where he was when he first came to the club, he wasn’t first choice but worked his way up by virtue of his performances and was instrumental at the back end of last year when I came,” Hughes said.

“Some of the saves that he made were match-defining saves – the saves that enable you to protect results and gain points and he did that on any number of occasions in the latter part of last year.

“That’s the sign of a top keeper when you need him to step up and protect the result for you and Alex did that on numerous occasions.”

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