LONDON (AFP) - England manager Fabio Capello will have to rely on third-choice goalkeeper Robert Green for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakshstan and Andorra after David James opted for shoulder surgery.
Manchester United's Ben Foster, who had moved past Green in Capello's pecking order, is also unavailable for the trip to Kazakhstan and the Wembley meeting with Andorra after having an operation to correct a ligament problem in his thumb.
James has had a problem with his left shoulder for some time but delayed a decision on surgery until his club, Portsmouth, had secured their survival in the Premier League.
He missed Monday night's 3-1 defeat of Sunderland and decided to have the operation on Wednesday rather than wait until after the England matches, on June 6 and 10, and risk not being fit for the start of next season.
The 38-year-old is taking a calculated gamble over his England place by handing Green or someone else the chance to come in and catch Capello's eye only a year before the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Portsmouth's interim coach Paul Hart said the goalkeeper accepted that.
"He's a strong-minded person and he knows what he's doing," said Hart. "He weighed up missing the England games before making his decision."
James said he had been carrying the injury for 18 months. "I have to look at the bigger picture. I want to be fit for the start of next season and I trust England to do well without me."
Green has yet to play in a competitive fixture for his country but has had a good season with West Ham and collected a second cap in February's friendly defeat by Spain.
England travel to Kazakhstan with a five point lead over Croatia after winning their first five matches in group six. Having beaten the Kazakhs 5-1 at Wembley in October, they will be confident of extending that winning run.