AS calamitous as Robert Green’s mistake was on Saturday night, not playing him for the second game against Algeria on Friday night would do more harm than good.
You really have to feel sorry for Green. Mistakes like that don’t happen too much in top-flight football, but the way he held his hands up, then kept his head to make that crucial second half save, showed guts.
I’ve said all along that David James should be the first-choice keeper but I just feel that by not playing Robert Green against the Algerians you would be shattering his confidence into a million pieces to the point where he may not play for England again.
My mind races back to Scott Carson and that cold and wet qualifier against Croatia in 2007. Here was a good young keeper, thrown into the deep end, but who has never recovered from an error which wasn’t too dissimilar to Green’s on Saturday night.
Green is too good a goalkeeper to let slip in such a way.
I think Fabio Capello will stick with Robert Green for Friday. If not, he’s effectively out of the tournament. It’s a tough decision, but that’s why he’s paid £8.8m, to make those decisions.
Looking back, Saturday night’s was a strange game, not least for the surprising decisions which Capello made on the night.
Firstly, the decision to play Milner, who had been sick all week, missing three training sessions and clearly not fit, was baffling enough, then to replace him with Shaun Wright-Phillips in an uncustomary left-sided position, and not Joe Cole, was equally as unfathomable.
Joe has been England’s best player for the last two warm-up games and is that little bit wiser than Wright-Phillips, while more comfortable on the left side.
But it’s Ledley King’s latest injury which worries me the most. While Jamie Carragher is a solid replacement for King, he and John Terry showed against the USA that they are vulnerable to pace.
I wonder if Capello is taking a sneaky look at Michael Dawson with Friday in mind? Dawson has had a great season at Tottenham and is champing at the bit for a debut.
Gareth Barry looks to be ready for Friday and I expect him to come straight back into the side. I think we missed Barry in that holding role on Saturday and Capello, I’m sure, will be desperate to get that shirt on his back.