Artur Boruc is all that now stands between Rickie Lambert and England booking a place at next summer’s World Cup.
Lambert was an unused sub as Roy Hodgson’s men beat Montenegro 4-1 last night, with the result meaning they hold a one-point advantage over Ukraine in Group H, ahead of the final round of qualifiers.
England will host Poland on Tuesday night, and will almost certainly need a victory, with Ukraine travelling to face whipping boys San Marino.
Boruc and his international teammates could have done England a huge favour last night.
Had they taken anything from their game in Ukraine, it would have left Hodgson’s side effectively holding an unassailable lead at the top of the group.
As it was, though, a goal midway through the second half for the hosts was enough to settle the tie.
Boruc is well aware that he could not only play a pivotal role in England’s hopes, but also come up against his Saints teammate on Tuesday.
“We spoke about the game, had a laugh,” he revealed this week. “He said he’ll score a goal. He deserved to be in the national team. He’s really nice guy.”
England have history with Polish keepers in World Cup qualifiers, with Jan Tomaszewski’s magnificent display in a 1-1 draw at Wembley in 1973 denying them a place at the 1974 finals.
Boruc is not interested in comparisons being drawn with him, though.
“I wouldn’t want to be him,” he said. “I’m Artur Boruc and want to be remembered in history by my own name.”
After being unable to find a breakthrough in the first half last night, England took the lead shortly after the interval, as Wayne Rooney pounced on a rebound inside the six-yard box after a low Daniel Sturridge shot had been saved by Montenegro keeper Vukasin Poleksic.
They doubled their lead in the 62nd minute, when Branko Boskovic bizarrely turned Danny Welbeck’s cutback into his own net.
England looked to be coasting, but Dejan Damjanovic diverted in a Fatos Beqiraj shot with just under 20 minutes remaining to set pulses racing.
Andros Townsend’s fierce low strike from 20 yards, which went in off the post, seven minutes later eased the nerves, though, before Sturridge scored from the penalty spot in added time.