Gordon Banks has hit back at Iker Casillas' "disrespectful" claim that England's goalkeepers are not up to scratch. The Spain No 1 said earlier this week that David James, Rob Green and Joe Hart lacked the big-match pedigree to cut it at the World Cup.
He argued that the trio's lack of Champions League experience was a "real problem" that could hinder England's chances of progression to the latter stages of the competition.
Banks, who was in goal the last time that England won the trophy in 1966, denies that is the case however, and believes England's goalkeeping department is among the best in the competition. "For him [Casillas] to say that is disrespectful really," Banks said. "Any one player can have a disaster day, miskick a backpass or anything like that.
"These things can happen to anyone so no-one should be pointing the finger at any goalkeeper, especially with this ball that they'll be using. The three guys we have are good enough. I have seen David James and Green make saves that any other goalkeeper couldn't make so if they have that type of game at the right time then they will get us through."
England manager Fabio Capello has chosen to rotate the trio for the final three warm-up matches but West Ham's Green has been hotly tipped to take the jersey when England begin their campaign on Saturday against the United States.
Banks has been impressed with the performances of all three but thinks veteran James, who will be taking part in his third World Cup, will start. "Since he came back from injury James has been playing very well," said Banks, who won 73 caps for his country. "I believe Capello will play James but at the same time Green is on the same level as him and the last two friendlies he took part in he made some important saves when it was 0-0 when we were in danger of going behind.
"I think he will go with James. He has a lot of experience. Joe Hart has been the most consistent all season but unfortunately for him he has little experience of playing international football and none of playing in a World Cup. To put someone in like that would be a bit of a risk and he could just freeze."
The moment Capello snapped at the paparazzi
Let's hope Wayne Rooney wasn't watching as Fabio Capello, in an example of "do as I say not as I do", lost his temper with a group of photographers at England's Royal Bafokeng World Cup base before training yesterday. Capello took exception to his players being filmed inside a building which also houses a medical room. "Why do you take photos of the rooms?" Capello demanded. "No excuses."