Shilton is backing Hart to go straight in at No 1

Peter Shilton was the first England footballer to learn how ruthless Fabio Capello could be. Now the country's most-capped player believes the Italian must be similarly decisive over which of his three goalkeepers starts the World Cup against the United States in less than three weeks' time.

In the years leading up to 1982 in Spain, one of three global tournaments he appeared in, Shilton alternated between England's posts with Ray Clemence. But Shilton was named as Ron Greenwood's first choice ahead of the finals and he insists that Capello should also let Robert Green, David James and Joe Hart know where they stand.

"From a goalkeeper's point of view, you want to know," Shilton, 60, said before swapping his dinner suit for a tracksuit and saving all but four penalties he faced at an event in support of Brainwave, a charity which helps children with brain injuries or genetic conditions. "Capello should say, 'Unless he gets injured or suffers a loss of form, he's my No 1'."

Shilton's assessment of the contenders reflects the dilemma facing the England manager as he prepares to tackle Mexico at Wembley tomorrow. "When Rob first joined West Ham he was a bit apprehensive, but he has become mentally tougher and more confident," the 125-time international said. "He's always had good technique, and his kicking is very good. He hasn't done a lot wrong or had the sort of scenario which cost David James and Paul Robinson where they made mistakes two or three games running.

"If James was playing like he did two years ago when he had a great season at Portsmouth there wouldn't be any discussion. He's still our most experienced keeper and you would have no hesitation putting him in, but I'm looking at the other two now and thinking they deserve their chance. He's had his and didn't take it completely. Hart made real progress at Birmingham and has been the most consistent.

"It's a big jump from club football and half an international to the World Cup, but it's not impossible. Green has his nose in front but I wouldn't be surprised if Hart came through."

Shilton regards England's goalkeeping options as reasonably healthy, viewing Ben Foster's £6m move from Manchester United to Birmingham as encouraging. He is concerned, however, that no one has established himself, and fears quality levels could decline. "[The] technical side of coaching goalkeepers has disappeared over the past 10 years. There's a lot more coaches who just give keepers exercise, but I'm talking technique. There could be a great improvement there."

Three years into an England career which stretched from 1970 alongside Bobby Moore to the Italia 90 semi-finals with Paul Gascoigne, Shilton faced Capello twice in five months. The thrusting Italy midfielder beat him with a header in Turin while his side-footed shot settled the game at Wembley.

Shilton would have preferred a British manager to succeed Steve McClaren but Capello's approach has impressed him. "He has brought back a lot of basic principles. He's strong on discipline and organisation, and I like the way he communicates with the media, not getting too involved and putting across simple messages."

Can England rule the world? "We've as good a chance as anyone, but Spain and Brazil are up there and there's another two or three in with a shout. There's a lot of ability and hopefully Capello will have us organised defensively because we need to keep more clean sheets. We also have to prove we have enough of the stuff that wins trophies. If you had 11 John Terrys or 11 Wayne Rooneys, it wouldn't be a problem. We still need to show we've got it."

Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

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
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need