England must go Green, but keep Hart Joe
| Submit Comments| Comments (10)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapGary Bailey believes it is Green for Go for England?s World Cup goalkeeper but believes Joe Hart will be No 1 four years from now. The former United keeper was in Bobby Robson?s 1986 World Cup squad along with Peter Shilton and Chris Woods. This time around Hart is fighting for a place in Fabio Capello?s starting line-up with West Ham?s Robert Green and David James of Portsmouth. Green looks in pole position after two excellent first-half saves in Monday?s friendly with Mexico at Wembley, although Hart enjoyed a solid second 45 minutes. Capello will probably pick his World Cup keeper for the final warm-up against Japan in Austria on Sunday and, although David James will also be available having sat out Monday?s game, Bailey believes Green will get the nod. But whoever the Italian plumps for, Bailey doesn?t believe it is a vintage era for keepers. ?It is a contrast to the 1970s and 80s when you had Peter Shilton, Ray Clemence, Joe Corrigan, Phil Parkes, Chris Woods as well as myself,? Gary said. ?There was a huge battle then, but Shilton was regarded as the best in the world at the time. I don?t think any of England?s goalkeepers at the moment would be ranked in the top five. Nevertheless, we have three very good keepers. ?Though, I have to admit I am still very disappointed for Ben Foster.? Hart will be back at Eastlands next season following a magnificent period on loan at Birmingam, where he was named Player of the Year. Injury He is also due to start the next campaign in the City side with Shay Given suffering a shoulder injury. But Hart?s elevation into Capello?s reckoning is in stark contrast to Foster?s misery. The ex-United keeper blew his chance at the start of last season when he had the gloves for England for two matches and was Sir Alex Ferguson?s first choice following an injury to Edwin Van der Sar. At the time, he was the natural successor to the Dutch keeper, but his form collapsed and he has now taken Hart?s place at Birmingham after a £6m move away from Old Trafford. And although Hart has turned many heads with his performances at St Andrew?s, Bailey feels this World Cup has come too soon for him. ?Joe has been tremendous at Birmingham but I still think he is a little too inexperienced to be considered England?s first choice in South Africa,? said Bailey, who grew up in South Africa. ?I don?t think he has had enough behind him for Capello to risk it. If you were 1-0 down to Argentina in a knockout stage you do not want a ?deer caught in the headlights? situation. You need someone who has been there. Unstuck ?I am not saying Joe would definitely be caught out like that but he hasn?t had the chances to show at full international level how he would react. ?South Africa is an opportunity for Joe to get the vibes of a World Cup, take in the whole experience and then use all that knowledge when he might be the No 1 in four years? time. ?My biggest worry for Hart is what will happen at City next season. If Shay Given gets back in then all Joe?s good work this season could come unstuck because Capello likes to choose players generally who are playing regularly.? While James is the senior keeper in the squad with 49 caps and his FA Cup final form for Pompey proved he is in good shape, Green has been Capello?s most regular choice. Of England?s nine matches from last summer onwards Green has been in goal for all but the two when Foster got his opportunity. Only his red card against Ukraine in October allowed James some minutes in goal. ?I think Capello seems most comfortable with Robert Green in goal and I think that will be his choice for the first match against the United States in June,? said Bailey. ?I don?t think he will let anyone down. Having been involved in a desperate relegation battle with West Ham he has certainly had a lot of work to do. ?In one way that is good because you have many opportunities to fine-tune your skills in match action. As long as you are not getting slaughtered 6-0 every week then that activity can be a good thing. Key ?On the down side of things you would maybe prefer your goalkeeper to come from United or Chelsea because they have had periods of inactivity when concentration is the key factor. ?You see what Van der Sar does for United, for instance, when he can have had nothing to do for virtually the entire game and then he is called on to make one vital save. ?I?ve seen him do that many times and that?s why he has been such a great goalkeeper for United and when he was Holland?s No1. ?At international level the goalkeeper?s role is often more as a spectator and then you get those moments when you have to be alert. ?Green, James and, to a slightly lesser extent, Hart have all been very active during the season. None has really experienced a lot of what is called for when you are playing for England. That would be my only concern.? GARY Bailey will be writing for M.E.N. Sport during the World Cup in South Africa.
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