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Green handed number one jersey

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12 Jun 2010 18:58:54

Green handed number one jersey

Robert Green won the England goalkeeping battle as Fabio Capello named the West Ham man in his side to face the United States in tonight's World Cup opener in Rustenburg.

Capello had vowed to wait until two hours before kick-off to tell his players which lucky 11 would begin the first match in Group C and Green got the call after holding off the challenge of Joe Hart and David James.

It was the sensible choice given Hart is so inexperienced and James has apparently been struggling with a knee injury.

Having played in eight of England's last 11 matches, Green is used to operating behind John Terry, Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, who formed three-quarters of the defence, along with Ledley King.

With James Milner's fitness confirmed after a minor virus earlier in the week, the Aston Villa midfielder was handed his first competitive start for England and was expected to take up a position wide on the left in an effort to subdue the threat of Landon Donovan.

It meant Joe Cole missed out as Aaron Lennon was chosen to fill the wide berth on the right flank with Emile Heskey partnering Wayne Rooney as expected.

Having declared he "exists to win", Capello had increased the pressure on both himself and his team and England started heavy favourites to beat the USA, who famously won the only other World Cup meeting between the two sides, in Belo Horizonte in 1950.


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