Fabio Capello is set to drop Rob Green following his blunder against the United States and install David James in goal for tonight’s Group C match with Algeria here.
Capello has been agonizing about the psychological effects on Green of his blunder against the USA and despite his belief that the Adidas Jabulani ball contributed to it, he is ready effectively to end Green’s World Cup tournament by installing James.
Capello insisted at 6pm last night that he knew his team and it is possible that Green’s unconvincing training session in the Green Point stadium might have contributed a change of heart from Capello. Green fumbled consecutive balls fired in to him by goalkeeping coach, while James and Joe Hart dealt capably with them. A jittery open training session also saw him fail to save a ball fired at him during an exercise in which the goalkeepers emerge from a forward roll to make a save. Capello was standing 40 yards away but his goalkeeping coaches will have informed him of the performances of the goalkeepers.
James, the Portsmouth goalkeeper, is undetstood to have had a strained relationship with some in the England management since his arrival in South Africa and he has seemed unhappy about Green’s selection ahead of him. But in his club management career Capello has never been a manager to allow personal conflicts to intrude on selection decisions. James, who after the USA game directly contradicted the England position that he has been carrying a knee injury, seems to be considered the safer bet after all.
Green’s England career may now be over. The last goalkeeper to blunder in a major game for England, Scott Carson whose error contributed to the defeat to Croatia at Wmebley which saw England fail to reach the 2008 European Championships, has played only 45 minutes of international football since. At 30, Green may feel there it will be a long road back with Joe Hart so impressive. Capello seems to feel that Hart cannot be risked tonight but he looks increasingly like a first choice contender for the 2012 Euros campaign.