ENGLAND coach Fabio Capello dropped the strongest hint yet that David James will be his No1 goalkeeper for the World Cup – through an innovative advertising campaign.
The 39-year-old Portsmouth stopper was back between the sticks for Sunday’s 2-1 friendly win over Japan, and was yesterday handed the No1 shirt for this month’s showcase in South Africa.
News of Capello’s squad listings were leaked through an eye-catching poster campaign by kit manufacturers Umbro, who erected the appropriate squad numbers in the home neighbourhoods of each of England’s 23 squad members.
James’ No1 sat pretty in his home town of Welwyn Garden City, while his rivals Robert Green and Joe Hart had to settle for No12 and No23 respectively.
An Umbro spokesman told City A.M.: “Focusing around the ‘Umbro, Tailored by’ concept, we thought it would be interesting to see where each of the players were tailored, born and raised.
“It’s the first time that a campaign has coincided with such a team announcement and we think the concept works perfectly as the nation comes together in support of the boys in South Africa.”
Capello also boosted Peter Crouch’s hopes of a first-team start after the Tottenham striker was handed the No9 shirt, while Chelsea’s Joe Cole was given No11.
SQUAD NUMBERS: 1 David James, 2 Glen Johnson, 3 Ashley Cole, 4 Steven Gerrard, 5 Rio Ferdinand, 6 John Terry, 7 Aaron Lennon, 8 Frank Lampard, 9 Peter Crouch, 10 Wayne Rooney, 11 Joe Cole, 12 Robert Green 13 Stephen Warnock, 14 Gareth Barry, 15 Matthew Upson, 16 James Milner, 17 Shaun Wright-Phillips, 18 Jamie Carragher, 19 Jermain Defoe, 20 Ledley King, 21 Emile Heskey, 22 Michael Carrick, 23 Joe Hart.