Robert Green last night said he was ready to rescue England from their goalkeeping crisis – but added that even after the injuries that have hit Fabio Capello's options, he cannot be sure he will get the call.
With David James and Ben Foster undergoing surgery this summer, Chris Kirkland injured and Scott Carson having lost form, Green has been thrust on to centre stage for England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra next month.
The West Ham goalkeeper told The Independent his phone had not stopped ringing since news broke of James' operation. Green's sister was first, waking him up yesterday morning with a text at half-past seven. "All my mates have been ringing me up," he said, "but I'm a bit too long in the tooth to get carried away. As soon as Jamo was out I knew people would be looking around for a name. One thing I've learnt about the new manager [Capello] is he does not take any notice of anyone else. He is his own man. But I will be turning up – assuming I am picked– and will prepare to play, as I do every time."
The difference is this time Green, who is yet to play in a competitive match for his country, should finally make his first start. The 29-year-old has previously won just two caps, as a substitute against the United States in 2005, and from the bench in Spain last season. Prior to the latter cap he wore gloves with "England's No 6" stitched into them in a reference to his perceived place in Capello's pecking order.
Most judges would argue that the keeper has been unlucky not to win more starts. He has shown excellent form for much of the last three seasons, was as instrumental as Carlos Tevez in West Ham's 2007 escape from relegation, and has been a key player in the club's recovery this season under another Italian manager, Gianfranco Zola.
Green paid tribute to Zola's contribution to his own performances. "He has instilled confidence in everyone. As a goalkeeper you are reactive to what happens in front of you. If the defence play well that rubs off on you and vice versa. The defence has been largely unchanged, which helps, so does the fact we play out from the back more. We're in a similar position in the table to where we finished last season [10th then, 9th now] but the players have enjoyed the way we are playing, and so have the fans. The manager has encouraged us to 'play football' and it's been a joy for everyone.
"It has been a real team effort. I think we've done very well under the limitations we've had. As well as Craig Bellamy, several squad players left in January and it has left us a bit thin when injuries happen. The lads that have come in include a lot of products from our academy and the fans have enjoyed seeing them do well."
While not assuming anything, Green will not have to scrap his holidays if called up. "I've nothing planned," he said. "I've learnt from my mistakes in the past when I've had to cancel flights."Reuse content