Capello will make another late decision over keeper
Green winning back confidence of squad but manager refuses to change criticised policy of revealing line-up on match day
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Fabio Capello will not change his "two-hour rule" of revealing the identity of the goalkeeper for England's game against Algeria on Friday close to kick-off, despite Robert Green's mistake against the United States last weekend.
The England manager has refused to bend on his practice of announcing the team – including goalkeeper – to his players two hours before kick-off, an approach that he has used throughout his time in charge of England apart from for occasional friendlies. The Italian is understood to be frustrated that his tried and tested methods are being blamed for Green's error that let in Clint Dempsey's equaliser on Saturday.
Those close to Capello say that it was not his late announcement that was the cause of Green losing concentration. One source said: "Fabio has achieved everything in his career with these methods, why should he change because of one mistake?"
After the game on Saturday, Capello said that the staff would assess Green "psychologically" in the build-up to Friday's match. The players have the option of sessions with the squad psychologist Christian Lattanzio, whose full-time job is with Green's club West Ham, but it is understood that Green has not taken up that option in the days since the US match.
The England players have been impressed by Green's resilience in the last two days – he was part of training again yesterday – and it would seem that he is under consideration again for Friday's match. The Capello camp themselves regard the mistake against the US as a one-off. Yesterday Capello's West Ham club-mate Matthew Upson said that the goalkeeper had responded well.
Upson said: "I think he [Green] has been exceptional. The comments he made after the game show that. Everyone can see the mistake. He acknowledged the mistake. I've never seen him make [a mistake before]. It's happened. You've got to get your concrete head on and do whatever will allow you to focus on performing well on Friday. He's tough. He's coped brilliantly. It's behind him, he knows what he's got to do. He's a big boy.
"It's done now. Forgotten about. Let's move on. We speak a lot. We're close and chat a lot about things. What I'm telling you is what he'd stand here and tell you: it's behind him and we've got to focus on the next game. He's desperate to play on Friday. He doesn't want to hide. He hasn't hidden since the moment he made the mistake.
"In the second half, his focus was really good. He made a really good save on to the post, and had a solid second half which is testament to him mentally. You've seen those incidents happen before and the rest of the game has been a write-off for people. That wasn't the case for him. That's really good."
Gareth Barry, meanwhile, has said that he is not feeling affected by the pressure of being regarded as the man who will give balance to England's midfield if, as expected, he makes his long-awaited return to the side against Algeria on Friday.
Barry, 29, was never a contender to play in Saturday's draw against the US but he is back in contention now for the first time since he damaged ankle ligaments playing for Manchester City against Tottenham on 5 May. Speaking for the first time since his injury he said that he was ready to play if Capello decides to switch back to his more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation.
Barry said: "It's important you try to stay calm. Everyone knows this is the World Cup and the pressure comes with that. The whole nation is up for it, supporting you, giving fantastic support. But we'll be going into games, if selected, trying to keep calm.
"Manchester City were brilliant [in getting me fit]. It wasn't their main target for me to get to the World Cup but they were brilliant. They said they would set me up with an oxygen tent at home to sleep in. We had a few hot days at home at the time and it was difficult to sleep. But it was one of those things you get used to eventually.
"It was always touch and go. I hadn't spoken to anybody from the [England] management staff here. I was nervous waiting for the phone call and eventually [general manager] Franco Baldini called me and wanted to hear from me how I felt and if I felt I had a really good chance."
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