Posted by: Paul | June 13, 2010

Green didn’t make a mistake – Capello did

Rob's 'white line' habit caused problems for England

I can resist no longer – there’s so much to talk about already that I’ve decided to ‘rebrand’ for the duration of the World Cup. Normal service will resume in July, and I’m sure I’ll write the odd non-football post in the interim anyway.

Pity poor Rob Green. When past England goalkeepers have made mistakes it’s been easy to blame them – Scott Carson, Ben Foster, Paul Robinson have all had howlers in the past few years and David James isn’t nicknamed ‘Calamity’ for nothing.

But even when it happened last night I didn’t really blame Green. I laughed when it went in, sure, but there’s been so much talk about the slippery / difficult to handle nature of the new World Cup ball, the Jabulani, that something like this was bound to happen to someone. I guess I was laughing in exasperation at the ‘sod’s law’ aspect of it – didn’t it just HAVE to be England?

Before the tournament started I was worried about the uncertainty over our goalkeeping position. But more than Rob Green being to blame, I actually think the fault here lies in Fabio Capello’s squad, and subsequently, team selection. In my opinion it’s a sad state of affairs when our first choice goalkeeper is from the team which finished 17th in the Premier League. And our second choice keeper is from the team which finished BOTTOM.

Aswell as pitying Rob Green for the undoubted cannonball he feels in the pit of his stomach this morning, I feel genuinely sorry for Joe Hart. How sad to be the English goalkeeper in the best form with the best Premier League record this year, and still you’re last in line for the national number one shirt. And even Paul Robinson I believe staked a decent claim towards the end of the season, and he has very significant international experience including a World Cup.

But it’s not just in goal – I think Fabio Capello got it wrong all over the park last night. Joe Cole would have given us the width we needed to stretch a fragile US defence, and has a cool head. Starting with Defoe rather than Heskey tucked in behind Rooney would have given us more of a cutting edge – though Heskey had a better game than I thought he would. And with Joe Hart in goal, who knows… maybe we’d be looking at a 1-0 win and three points instead of a scrap for goal difference to see who will win the group.

But like I say, don’t be too hard on Rob – the papers need to let it go as Capello will not back down from the original mistake of picking him, and he’ll be in goal next Friday for sure. He needs to pick himself up, get back on the horse, and not let the second chance slip through his fingers. Ba-dum-tssssh!

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