Neil Warnock: For once there is no satisfaction at all in being proved right

What I Learnt On Saturday Night: I must admit that I described Robert Green as "anaccident waiting to happen"

Sharon and I were glad to welcome a reader named Richard Romaniak to watch England play the United States on Saturday. Rick had won a World Cup competition in these pages, and one of his prizes was an evening chez Warnock, to watch the big game. The runner-up, I'm told, will get to come round twice.

It's just as well Rick was with me, because somebody had to witness what I said before kick-off. Really it was freakish the way it turned out. And it doesn't give me the slightest satisfaction, as you can imagine. But when we were talking about Capello's starting XI – and I can hardly believe the phrase I used – I must admit that I described Robert Green as "an accident waiting to happen".

I feel terrible for the lad, like everyone else. But the fact is that I couldn't really see him as an England keeper. He doesn't have the aura of David James – you see the way James runs his defence.

Maybe there was some injury issue with James. And I agree that it would have been impossible to go with Hart, as well as he has done. He does look as though he could become the long-term solution – potentially our No 1 for the best part of 20 years – but it just wouldn't be fair to pitch him into a World Cup at this stage.

Rick asked what a manager could say to the lad at half-time. And the answer is that you can't say anything. A gaffe like that, he doesn't need telling anything. All you can say is: "Come on lads, get your mate out of this mess. You all know it could have been any of you. Now let's get him out of this."

It's a tough one, though. The hardest half-time talk I've ever had was at Wembley, in a play-off final with Huddersfield. We had battered Bristol Rovers, first half, absolutely battered them – but it was 0-0 after 45 minutes. Then we scored, in injury time – and they went straight up the other end and equalised. We had been brilliant, and the dressing room was like a morgue.

As it happens, we did win that game, with a late winner – but we didn't play well for the first few minutes of the second half. You couldn't miss the deflation in England, either. Everyone feels for Green, of course they do. But the fact is that the Americans got out of jail. The question now is what Capello does for the next game. I think that if you pick him, now, you pick him for the wrong reason.



2. Stay loyal to your players

The other thing I said to Rick before the game was that Capello had to go with Heskey. He is a manager's player. Ninety per cent of pundits would not have started him. Ninety per cent of managers definitely would. And he had a cracking game, typified by his work for England's goal. Your best player has to be happy and Rooney obviously loves playing with him.

To me, though, if you stay loyal to Heskey – considering everything he did in qualifying – then you have to stay loyal to Theo Walcott, too. You don't forget people who get you out of a corner. And he gives you a different option, too, off the front man. His final ball isn't always the best but instinct would take over, and in that way he would offer you something different from Lennon or Wright-Phillips.



3. Ignore superstition at your peril

When Gerrard scored we were still finishing our dinner. And being superstitious I felt we shouldn't move from the table. We went for the comfort of the sofa and armchairs, though, and the rest is history. I remember when I didn't change some lucky underpants at Rotherham. Obviously there was a price to pay, for anyone in the vicinity, but we went 18 games unbeaten.



4. A high-tempo game is the way forward for England

I had to admit to Rick that I don't massively enjoy watching England. I always wish they played their games more like the Premier League, make the opponents work harder. When we come up against teams more comfortable on the ball, it suits them to have a slower game. Having said that, I think we were as positive as I've seen in a long time. It was a horrible game, for a manager, because everyone expects a win but you know you're up against good players who know how to make life difficult.

Overall I think expectations are too high for England. They often struggle to score goals, once they come up against world-class opposition.



5. Always keep your cool

Rick had spent the afternoon at the British Museum before coming down for the game. And then Sharon cooked us salmon and green beans for supper. All very civilised – as you would expect for a man who reads The Independent. Think of all those tabloid readers sweating in the pub!

He proved a very nice fellow, especially given that his first love is Leeds... His other teams reminded me of some of the happiest days of my career – at York and Scarborough.

And I hope he agrees that Sharon's strawberry pavlova was the highlight of the evening. After the game, my chin was on the floor – and then that came through the door. Mind you, things had got off to a bad start when Amy brought me a glass of white wine that had not been chilled. Unfortunately, thanks to Robert Green, it wasn't the last time we were missing a bit of cool on the night.



6. How to get one over on the Dutch and Germans... at fishing

At the end of the season we enjoyed a few days at a log cabin in Scotland. The weather was fantastic, we cycled miles, and I took Will mackerel-fishing. There were all these Dutch and German anglers sitting round waiting for something to happen, and William landed one with his very first cast. They all looked around and I said: "Just wait until the World Cup!"

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?