Grant offers backing to Green

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The Independent Football

Avram Grant insists West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green will be able to bounce back from the howler which cost him his place in the England team at the World Cup.

Green looked set to be Fabio Capello's first choice for the tournament but he lost his place between the posts after costing the team an opening win against the United States by failing to stop Clint Dempsey's tame effort in Rustenburg.

Green, who was a regular between the posts for West Ham last season, is not the first England goalkeeper to be guilty of making a big error for his country.

Veteran David James has been haunted by the "Calamity James" tag he picked up when he made errors at the start of his career while Scott Carson and Paul Robinson have struggled to make it back into the England reckoning thanks to their blunders during the country's unsuccessful Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Grant insists even the best goalkeepers in the world make big mistakes during big competitions, citing errors made by Germany stopper Oliver Kahn in the 2002 World Cup, and Iker Casillas' blunder which caused 2010 finalists Spain to lose their group match with Switzerland, as examples.

"I spoke with Robert Green on the phone and I was very happy with what I heard," said Grant.

"I spoke only about the future and what will happen. He looks very strong and very intelligent.

"I don't think it will have an effect on him. I can give examples, I was at the World Cup in 2002 and I saw the goalkeeper (Kahn) who didn't stop a ball that my daughter could stop.

"They lost the World Cup and after this he was still the best goalkeeper in Germany.

"I saw on the television this year Casillas, the best goalkeeper in the world in my opinion, concede a goal and everyone said it was his fault or the fault of his girlfriend or mother or whatever. He was the best player in his last three games.

"This is the life of a goalkeeper.

"For me Robert Green is a great goalkeeper, I watched him in the last year and I'm looking forward to seeing him in the first training."

Grant has so far had little luck in his transfer dealings since becoming Hammers boss last month, but perhaps the Israeli's biggest challenge will be to convince the England quartet of Green, Scott Parker, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole to remain at the club.

Grant has urged the club's hierarchy to extend Upson's contract, which expires next summer.

"I think any club, especially a club like West Ham, needs to do everything to keep a player like Upson," said the former Pompey boss.

"He is a good player and person and we will do everything to keep him.

"I only want players who want to play because I think we will have a great future. It will be good for us and good for the players. Of course, Matthew is one of them."