Robinson's omission leaves Banks reeling

World Cup winner rues Capello's goalkeeping 'blunder' and backs James as No 1

England's World Cup-winning goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, believes Fabio Capello has made a serious error of judgement leaving Paul Robinson out of his squad for South Africa. The goalkeeping position, with no obvious No 1 contender, is a strong concern as England hope to progress deep into the tournament next month.

Last week, Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce expressed incredulity that Robinson, who earned the last of 41 caps during a defeat against Russia in October 2007, was omitted, given Capello's oft-quoted assurances that he picks players in form.

While the Rovers manager could be accused of bias towards his own man, he has found a strong ally in Banks, who knows a thing or two about goalkeepers. "Paul Robinson should have gone," says Banks. "Blackburn picked up halfway through the season but even when Robinson was letting goals in, they weren't necessarily his fault. He could still be doing his job properly and Blackburn could still be losing. For me he should definitely have been included."

Not just because, says Banks, Robinson hit decent form for his club. Experience, he says, is key in the cauldron of a World Cup finals. "The experience he has had playing for England means he wouldn't be too anxious or too nervous. The back four have to have confidence in the man behind them so they can do their job a little bit better. They can concentrate on their job rather than thinking 'is he going to drop it?' or 'is he going to make a mistake?'"

Banks, whose save against Pele in 1970 remains one of the iconic moments in football, remains, even at 72, a student of the English goalkeeper and is worried about how a position that was once the envy of the world has fallen behind other established footballing powers.

He blames foreign Premier League managers for not giving English keepers sufficient exposure. Robert Green, Joe Hart and David James – the three on the plane to South Africa – are all prone to brilliance on their day, says Banks. Yet the dearth of young English keepers breaking through is a big worry to him.

"The type of ball kids use these days has got a lot to do with it. It moves about so much more. They can't get hold of it so they play outfield instead. But that's not the main problem. We have all these fantastic academies in this country, with goalkeeping coaches who are giving advice. I cannot believe that we don't get any young, good lads coming through at big clubs.

"Unfortunately for us, England have so many foreign managers that even if the first-team goalkeeper gets injured, they won't take a chance on a young English goalkeeper, at say 19 or 20. Unless the youngsters get the experience of playing in the Premier League, they won't be any good."

Banks cites Ben Foster, who has just joined Birmingham City from Manchester United, as a case in point. Sir Alex Ferguson may not be foreign but he is just as responsible, says Banks, for failing to bring through a quality English goalkeeper and allow him to fulfil his potential. "I was tipping Foster to play [in South Africa]. Of course, they will make the odd mistake, every goalkeeper does. But managers have very little patience. Don't ask me why. 'Get another one in' seems to be the thinking."

Banks does not dispute the ability of James, Green or Hart. But Robinson, he repeats, would have been a more reliable bet, at the expense of the much-touted Hart. "Although he is very, very consistent, Hart is a young lad and he hasn't got the experience of playing international football. To be put on a stage like that is a lot of pressure. There is this great expectation. He is definitely one for the future. After this World Cup, I'd start pushing him and seeing how he performs. If he does well, keep him in."

Banks would start with James against the United States on 12 June because of experience, but admits he is vulnerable. "I saw him in one game where he came for a cross at the far post and didn't get anywhere near it. James could come in and stop three or four goals that no other goalkeeper would have stopped. Then again the opposite can happen. We could be playing really well, maybe 1-0 up, then he makes a couple of bad mistakes and we lose 2-1. That is what I am saying: they are very much of a muchness. You can never tell whether they will do good or do bad. That's one of the things he [Capello] has to suffer with."

Gordon Banks was speaking at the launch of the official Marks & Spencer World Cup suit

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas