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Romero & Neuer highlight Hart folly

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Jonathan Stevenson | 13:13 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Buried deep among the ruins of England's World Cup catastrophe remains a dilemma that refused to go away throughout their dismal showing in South Africa: the goalkeeping conundrum.

In the aftermath of the mauling at the hands of Germany, far bigger issues concerning the future of English football have been pored over, with the frenzied search for answers showing no signs of abating.

What if, what if, what if?

But ponder this: What if Fabio Capello had named Joe Hart as his number one goalkeeper before the tournament started? What if Hart, the country's in-form custodian, had been between the sticks during the game against the United States, when Robert Green gifted away a goal and England's campaign never truly recovered?

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Lack of experience has often been cited as one of the reasons Hart failed to convince Capello he was a better option than the error-prone Green or the 39-year-old James.

Yet when footballing powerhouses Germany and Argentina meet in Cape Town in their World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, they will do so with goalkeepers who have a combined age of 47 and a mere 19 caps between them - eight of which have been gained in this competition.

You could certainly forgive Hart, capped three times by Capello, for casting an envious glance in the direction of Argentina glovesman Sergio Romero and Germany number one Manuel Neuer.

As the 23-year-old Englishman decides what to do with his summer holiday, Neuer, a year his senior, and Romero, a mere two months older, play in the biggest match of their careers with the eyes of the world upon them.

Yet at the start of the season - no, even towards the end of the season - neither Romero nor Neuer were the definite first-choice goalkeepers for their country. In fact, as Hart kept clean sheet after clean sheet during a coming-of-age campaign on loan at Birmingham City, he was probably the likelier of the three to feature in South Africa this summer.

But whereas Capello procrastinated, waiting until two hours before England's opening game of the tournament to choose his goalkeeper, Argentina coach Diego Maradona and Germany boss Joachim Loew played the hand dealt to them with a decisiveness befitting the size of the event they were heading into.

You could argue that both Argentina and Germany found themselves in a more vulnerable position than England, such were their respective keeping quandaries.

When he took over the Albiceleste in October 2008, Maradona found a team desperately short of a top-class stopper. During their 18-match qualification campaign, they used four goalies, with Roberto Abbondanzieri, Juan Pablo Carrizo and Mariano Andujar all tried and tested before Maradona plumped for Romero for the crucial last three fixtures.

It was a somewhat controversial choice, with AZ Alkmaar keeper Romero - almost unknown in his homeland - a tender age for a keeper. He did have success on his side, however, with a Dutch league title in the 2008/09 season bolstering his CV as scouts from bigger European sides began to take interest.


Germany's situation was more tragic than it was desperate. On 10 November 2009, the country's number one Robert Enke committed suicide, while his successor, Rene Adler, suffered a serious rib injury and was ruled out of the World Cup.

Neuer, who was part of Germany's European Under-21-winning side last summer, was suddenly first choice, with Loew confirming the Schalke keeper would start the World Cup ahead of Tim Weise and Hans-Joerg Butt a month before the tournament began.

And as Hart made do with nothing more than a training role in South Africa as Green and then James stood between the sticks for England, Romero and Neuer blossomed in the roles that had been thrust upon them, not just on the pitch - with both men conceding only two goals in four games thus far - but off it too.

So much of the talk since England's exit has been about the psychological aspect of playing in a competition like the World Cup. We know the England players are good enough, so the thought process goes, therefore they must be lacking mental fortitude instead.

By not throwing Hart - a man who will have designs on the England goalkeeper's jersey for the next 10 years - into the fray, Capello not only missed a crucial opportunity to pick his most in-form side but he cost Hart the chance to really experience a major tournament.

This experience comes not from merely being at the World Cup - it's about being in the World Cup, being part of the story. While Romero has been having his say on vuvuzelas ("when you talk you are not heard") and goalline technology ("football is for the cunning, not for technology") and Neuer has played mind games with England ("I fooled the referee into thinking Frank Lampard's shot was not over the line"), Hart has suffered in silence.

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He has missed out on the heat of battle and has not had to deal with tricky questions from foreign journalists either. Apart from the fact that he is still a better keeper than Green and James, Hart has probably learned precious little from his first major tournament.

Neither Romero nor Neuer would attest to being the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment - Romero's mis-calculation almost allowed Mexico's Carlos Salcido to score in their last-16 tie, while Neuer's reckless rush from goal ended with Matthew Upson heading home for England - but the lessons they are learning from playing at the highest level of their sport are immeasurable.

With a shadow still cast over Green and James surely at the end of his international career, Hart is almost certain to be in goal when England face Hungary in a friendly at Wembley on 11 August.

But by then, a golden chance to further this talented young goalkeeper's education - as well as his reputation - will have already been lost.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Its true that even young players when we find them don't have a chance of playing in key games due to a culture of fear (of losing) and reliance on the old guard.

    How do you think that goalkeepers like Buffon (in the modern era) get to 100 caps? Every goalkeeper makes mistakes, this is accespted in other countries but here they are hung out to dry and pillored in public - their confidence must be shot to pieces. Casillas has made mistakes as well, Spain will stick with him - I am willing to bet he will make 100 caps. Romero and Neuer are other cases. The latter given the gloves and told to settle in, despite having strong competition from Adler. Add Lloris to the list as well (despite pressure from Mandanda). Russia did the same thing Akinfeev.

    If I were a young up and coming player in the Premiership I would be looking for Irish ancestors because the England team will kill your career.

    Paul Robinson, Scott Carson, probably now Robert Green - Confidence was shot to pieces after playing for a national team more akin too the Big Brother house than a international squad.

    Goes for managers as well; Steve McLaren was suddenly turned into a tactical supremo after being sacked. Paul Scholes played some of the best football after leaving the national selection.

  • Comment number 2.

    And that's why I think Capello should go. He made terrible decisions through out the tournament.
    The goalkeepers was one, taking Shaun Right Philips instead of Adam Johnson was another.
    He is too conservative to try out new players.

  • Comment number 3.

    I presume England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence would have advised Capello about which goalie to pick. Maybe he recommended Hart and Capello chose to ignore him. Or maybe he recommended Green and Capello listened. We'll never know.

  • Comment number 4.

    Capello is more suited to leagues and qualifying rounds that take years to complete unlike one month tournaments like world cup where he is not allowed to make up for mistakes made earlier like leaving out Hart. Were it qualifying campaign am sure he would have included Johnson instead of Phillips, Bent instead of Rooney. Capello should allow himself some flexibility as football is not static, also let the team evolve. When will new/young players get their chance?

  • Comment number 5.

    Neuer admits that he "fooled the referee".

    Does this not ring alarm bells in anyone else?

    If players like Ronaldo & Drogba go to ground too easily we are very quick to criticise, we call them cheats, we scream for something to be done about it.

    Then we have (what to me is far far worse) a player trying to fool the officials over a an actual goal. This is cheating, plain and simple.

    How a player can admit this and not receive a warning or ban is beyond me.

  • Comment number 6.

    At the end of the day it's all ifs and buts, pots and pans.

    What a lot of people seem to forget is that both Germany and Argentina are good enough teams to be able to withstand the aftershocks of a goalkeeping error or a poor moment in the game. We're talking about an England team here which had 45 minutes to find an equaliser against the United States and didn't do so at all, and whose response to the 'goal that never was' was to get hit on the counter and concede two more goals to lose 4-1 to Germany. What if Hart had let his inexperience get the better of him and made a mistake? And let's bear in mind that he also got sent off in the Euro U-21 semi-final. Yes it may not have been his fault, but what was the guarantee that he would have been able to handle the pressure of a World Cup, particularly with England's creaky, slow defence? Last season with Birmingham he also didn't really play any big matches, while James at least played in the FA Cup Final and put in a fine, blameless display as Pompey went down 1-0. It's all about experience in this cases and James SHOULD have been the No.1.

    Also, why is there this clamour to make Hart the new No.1 when there are at least 2 other goalkeepers in the wings? I'd like to see if Ben Foster can put up a good show this season at his new club, he's done the right thing by leaving Manchester United and I think if he performs well, he should be brought back, particularly since he's never put a foot wrong for England.

  • Comment number 7.

    Everybody makes mistakes. Even the great Oliver Khan who single handedly led Germany to the finals in 2002 did two mistakes in the FINAL and it led to the two goals that Ronaldo scored. Still he is regarded as one of the best.

    I agree that Green did a blunder of a mistake but everybody does mistakes. He must have been given a chance in the next match against Algeria and he would have salvaged some pride.

    Capello has done lot of mistakes leaving out players in the following areas:
    Goalkeeper: Paul Robinson (wonderful season at Blackburn) but ignored in place of the 40 year old James whose club Portsmouth got relegated.
    Then comes Bent who would have done an excellent job but old Heskey was choosen.
    Then Adam Jhonson for SWPhillips.
    Selecting Joe Cole but not playing him.Ignorning Scott Parker who was having a very good last few days in the premier league (he was in form).
    Ignoring Theo Walcott whose pace could have helped England.
    I do not understand what was wrong with Capello.He had lost it completely.

    But he is telling that there would be a complete change,so i say give him a chance and bring some rules in the Premier league from which locally grown young talents are encouraged and groomed for Euro 2012 and FIFA 2014.

  • Comment number 8.

    Mr Capello didn't wait until 2 hours before kick off to choose his keeper. He waited until 2 hours before kick off to announce his keeper.
    But hey, you're a's your job to invent things.

  • Comment number 9.

    Very interesting issue you have touched on! I think keepers who have been trusted at tender ages have not disappointed! As far as Hart is concerned all we can now do is wonder what if? ... shoulda! woulda!

    "qualityreading" ...

    I think Casillas is the most capped player in the current Spanish team with more that 100 caps. And I think he started out with Madrid at age 17! Also remember very well the game Madrid had at Old Trafford with Casillas at 17 which they won. Even Sir Alex later paid compliment ... said their (Madrid) young keeper had had a good game.

  • Comment number 10.

    Joe Hart was voted as the best goalkeeper in the Premiership last season - by the players themselves. Didn't that tell Capello anything?

    The goalkeeping farce at the World Cup is indicative of something that is far too prevalent in English football – young players are not given the opportunities they deserve and need.

    Because of the demands for 'instant success', managers will panic and put the club into considerable debt in order to acquire foreign 'talent' rather than giving their young players opportunities for 1st team football.

    And we wonder why there is a lack of young talent in this country...

  • Comment number 11.

    Hart may start against Hungary in August, and probably should do.

    But beyond that how can they justify selecting him when he'll be sat on the City bench much like he did throughout this summer.

  • Comment number 12.

    Do you remember the nickname assigned to one David James by the press 'Calamity James'. I am a Jame's supporter and believe that he should have been in the team from the start, however he did make a number of high profile blunders in his early career. Goalkeepers have a longer career than most and need to gain experience, I am sure that all of the goalies mentioned above will have their chance to blossom in the future and many of them will make more blunders to be played time and again by the media and hung out to dry by the tabloids which has the mentatlity in the UK of build them up and then rip them to pieces (as they did recently with the England team). Some players will crack under the pressure and others will thrive as I beleive Jame's did, the door is open now that Jame's will surely retire from international football. I am sure one or two will rise to the top to establish themselves as Englands No. 1 for the forseeabe future. As for the world cup to make your debut not so sure about that both Argentina and Germany had their hand forced and they were lucky but we have yet to see Romero or Neuer put under sustained pressure in this world cup, and if England had scored the equaliser and gone on to win I wonder what the German press would have said about the first England goal which found Neuer wanting.

  • Comment number 13.

    In reference to my earlier post, I should make that 'find a goal', and not 'find an equaliser'!

    Secondly, like I've said there are several other good English keepers waiting in the wings and eager to prove a point, they should be given another chance especially if they're back in form!

  • Comment number 14.

    The reason Joe Hart was not picked earlier for England is simple.
    There are certain teams in the premier league where if you have a half decent run of form for a few games you can suddenly find yourself in the England team. This relates to the "big 4" teams and normally any London teams. Unfortunately for Joe Hart he was playing for Birmingham City who are not fashionable by any means and certainly not one of the clubs who the media adore (as opposed to say West Ham). It would have been the same had he played all year for say Blackburn/Bolton.

    This appears to be a fact of life and was acute under Erikson and McLaren. It is not impossible to break into the England team but you have to play a heck of a lot better to break through if you are playing for certain other clubs.


  • Comment number 15.

    But ponder this: What if Fabio Capello had named Joe Hart as his number one goalkeeper before the tournament started?

    I have pondered this and I have come to the conclusion that it would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever.

    If only the problems with the England side could be blamed on goalkeeper selection. What a pathetic piece of sports journalism!

  • Comment number 16.

    I have followed Joe Hart since his Shrewsbury days,I knew then that he would get an England call up. I knew as soon as Green was chosen for the first match that Hart would do nothing other than keep the bench warm. As for Capello only choosing in form players who had the better season, Hart (Birmingham), Green (West Ham - Nearly relegated), or James (Portsmouth - Relegated). Says it all really. 6 Million a year to make those kind of descions. He probably got a bonus for getting out of the group as well.

  • Comment number 17.

    "error-prone Green", I doubt you will find a player, manager or supporter in the country that has actually watched the guy play agree with you....

    Calamity James is a knick-name given for a reason....James would have been ripped to pieces had it not been for the fact that the pundits and press had demanded his inclusion...Being wrong is easy, admitting it is impossible for some.

    "What if", Joe Hart had been selected and made a complete mess of a shot, (green), or backed off instead of attacking the ball, or diving out of the way of a relatively easy effort on goal (James).

    "What if" the lads confidence was shot from the slatting he would have got from the English "football loving journalists" and he went into a Robinson like spiral that has taken a very good keeper, years to come out of.

    If you want to look a little deeper into your "form keeper via clean sheets" argument, you might want to look at how many goals Birmingham City scored, it might give you an idea to where the majority of their players were hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.

    One last comment Stevo......Stick to the idle waffle with Cheesey on the match reports and leave the thinking stuff to those that are paid for it, they do not do it better than you, but why spoil an otherwise good name by joining them in their poorly thought out and thrown together pieces of drivel, as the great man might have said, "You do your job and leave the thinking to those who have the tools for it"....

  • Comment number 18.

    Jonathan, i,m sorry but i dont buy your argument for Joe Hart. Evidence can be seen on your own report where you quote:

    "Germany's situation was more tragic than it was desperate. On 10 November 2009, the country's number one Robert Enke committed suicide, while his successor, Rene Adler, suffered a serious rib injury and was ruled out of the World Cup."

    To me it says it all that Neur would not have been 1st choice keeper without the loss of Enke and injury Adler, so how do you then justify Capello to select Hart , when the other 2 keepers were fit and healthy?
    Are you insunuating that Joe Hart is presently better than David James!!!
    Your argument does not stack up Jonathan

  • Comment number 19.

    "Then we have (what to me is far far worse) a player trying to fool the officials over a an actual goal. This is cheating, plain and simple."

    I guess if The crossed the England's line, David James would be screaming at the ref that is was a goal and to let it stand.

  • Comment number 20.

    With all the problems Portsmouth had last season, when James had a game, he did exceptionally well, they got to the FA cup finals. Does anyone think for a moment that if Joe Hart was to be the Portsmouth goal keeper he would have done any better? You all for get that the England defenders themselves preferred James in goal, as they xplaind that there was better communication betweenthme and David, which is where confindence comes into play which is required in any defence

  • Comment number 21.

    ut ponder this: What if Fabio Capello had named Joe Hart as his number one goalkeeper before the tournament started? What if Hart, the country's in-form custodian, had been between the sticks during the game against the United States, when Robert Green gifted away a goal and England's campaign never truly recovered?

    another English journo with the blinkers on. When will you just admit that you were never good enough. That goal didn't knock the stuffing out your campaign. Your performances were abysmal. The players you have got on paper are arguably some of the best in the World but in terms of being a cohesive team they are not. Every major tournament since 2000 (and possibly before that, i'm just too young to remember properly) the team has been the same yet you come in to 2010 shocked that it's happened again. You qualified for the finals easily from a group that you should of qualified easily from so all of a sudden you start believing you are the best without actually doing anything to prove it. You couldn't beat the big nations in friendlies with Capello and all the media could muster was that they were meaningless friendlies but when you beat Germany in another meaningless friendly (probably your most impressive result under FC) you were World beaters. Since the war England have NEVER beaten a so called "major force" in international football in the knockout stages of a World cup on foreign soil so why are you surprised it happened again? The rest of the home nations can admit we are not good enough even though we all have players plying their trade in the Premiership when will England finally do the same?

    Listening to your 606 phone in and it was laughable that not only the callers but the presenters had it in their minds that not a single German player would get in to the England team. Just because they don't play in the Premiership doesn;t make them bad. A country that was in the Euro final in 2008, won the U21 Championship last Summer and had a Champions league finalist this year but were still being talked down as rubbish. Schweinsteiger has arguably been the best centre midfielder in the World this season and been one of the best players in the tournament but still callers were saying GARETH BARRY was better than him. Maybe if some more English players started playing abroad you would start to pay more attention the other quality in other leagues and that Spain and England aren't the only 2 in the World that has top quality. And after 2012 when the Euros are over and some of the old boys start to retire because of all the money in the Prem that has been used on brining in foreigners there are no players technically anywhere near as good from England that are coming through to replace them. Yes there are some good players but nowhere near as good as the likes of Gerrard and Lampard.

    My final little thing that bugs me is the big deal over the 2 hours before kick off announcing the team and that this seemed to be the major reason that England failed against USA. That's a team that maybe 7 of your starting lineup had been playing together for years and the other few had featured so they all knew how each other played on the pitch so it shouldn't of mattered when the team was announced. The starting lineup that day had over 500 caps between them so surely they were experienced enough. I appreciate that certain teams may react and play differently to it but in the 2007 League Cup Final John Collins didn't name his Hibs team until 40 minutes before kick off and they went out and won 5-1 in one of the best displays in the last 10 years. That's just one example that naming a team before kick off isn't always negative.

    Now get the blinkers off and enjoy watching the best teams in the World contest for the cup

    Rant over

  • Comment number 22.

    There's a question of expectation here; both Germany and Argentina went in to the World Cup with their press NOT expecting them to win it (Germany regarded as too young, Argentina terrible in qualifying). Therefore their GKs have been able to make mistakes (and Neuer was awful against England) without being cast as the villain of the piece - like the English press did to Carson and Green. I also think if either of those countries had the equivalent of David James in their squads (experienced internationally, in decent form) he would have been their first choice; Adler was first choice before his injury, Butt wasn't regarded as experienced enough. England's issue was that they neither went with the best on form (Hart) or the experienced (James) but instead an average keeper from an average team.
    But as Robbo writes above, it would have made no difference whatsoever - your problems went a lot deeper than issues over keeper selection.

  • Comment number 23.

    Not wanting to get into an argument but mambo said:
    > "If you want to look a little deeper into your "form keeper via clean sheets" argument, you might want to look at how many goals Birmingham City scored, it might give you an idea to where the majority of their players were hanging out on a Saturday afternoon."

    If I remember the statistics correctly, certainly at the mid point of the season, Hart had made more saves and faced more shots on target than any other keeper. Birmingham might have played defensively but he was called into action A LOT. This is actually the better argument against including him; you'd expect him as an England keeper to only be called on occasionally and his concentration hasn't been proven. Hence when Foster became Man U keeper, this weakness was exposed, as Man U keepers are only called into action now and again, whereas at Watford he had to be constantly alert.

  • Comment number 24.

    Ref post 13 - you say - 'there are other good England goalkeepers waiting in the wings'- where are they? Chris Kirland who unfortunately is always injured and Andy Lonergan at Preston who was the U21 keeper for several seasons but now seems ignored, probably because his club is in the Championship league.
    I wrote long before the World Cup started that Green would be a liability. This was based on his inefficiency in commanding his 6 yards box, his reluctance to deal effectively with corners and free kicks, his non-communication with his defenders and his whole demeanour which lacks confidence. He often looks like he wishes he was somewhere else. In the Mexico warm-up game he worryingly dropped the ball several times, but it seems as if Capello or Clemence did not notice this. In the U.S.A. game the ball was being pinged across the England 6-yards box and Altidore twice could have scored, if he had been a decent player, as Green failed to come out and take the ball. All this before he 'goofed' a goal to the U.S.
    I would state that 25-30% of the goals conceded by West Ham last season were because of Green's inability to deal with crosses. Yet somehow the experts being paid millions of pounds to run the England team do not see these deficiencies. Were they too not concerned over his reluctance to advance from his goal-line when the ball was in the air?

    Of all 3 keepers, Joe Hart is by far the safest in the air. However I don't think James did anything wrong after he replaced Green and he could not be faulted for any of the 4 goals against Germany which were scored from 'point-blank' range, as we say.

    One further point on defending. Why did Milner never track back to assist Johnson who was given the run-a-round by Podolski. I can't recall him once being anywhere near his own penalty area. He just seemed to hug the touchline for the entire time he was on the pitch - probably because he is not accustomed to playing in that position. Yet another Capello boob.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think the debate over Capello is ridiculous, can we not move on already i'm bored?!? The main reason we went out of the World Cup was the players did not perform, and that is that!

    Who would replace him? The clamour for an Englishman to take over the national team is short sighted as we have NO decent candidates for the job (and yes I include Harry Redknapp in that, with no European experience at all in his entire career). Capello is world class and we're lucky to have him. Yes he made mistakes, but all managers do.

    The goalkeeping situation was unfortunate, Rob Green was first choice on merit, and who the hell knows if Joe Hart would have had a decent game against the USA anyway?!? If he'd made that mistake the media would have slaughtered Capello for playing an inexperianced stopper.

    This country needs to get over the fact we are not good enough to win the World Cup, end of story!

    The FA needs to sort out the grass roots of our national game. They cream enough money for themselves so start bloody investing it better!

  • Comment number 26.

    Did realise Green was error prone as you say. He made one error. So did the Algerian Keeper, so did the Koren, and I pretty sure there was a few others. If you analyse Greens performance in isolation in this world cup, you will learn nothing. It must be analysed alongside that of all keepers. Even Casillias who is considered probably the worlds best, made errors against Portugal and recovered to prevent the goal. I think it's shocking what the media has done to Green but for the life of me I can't understand what Capello was thinking when Suddenly started calling up old retired players and not being able to settle on a keeper.

  • Comment number 27.

    The media focusing on Capello naming his team 2 hours before kick off is a joke. It happens at club level, and has done for a very long time.

    Move on!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    should have said Did NOT realise Green was error prone in 26!

  • Comment number 29.

    Cannot believe I completely agree with a bloke called Scouse_torres!

  • Comment number 30.

    It astonished me that Capello picked Green. He made more mistakes leading to goals in the Premiership than any other keeper last year, and he very very rarely keeps a clean sheet. Side by side, it's obvious that Hart is the better keeper and also was in much better form.

    And yet people said to choose Green because he had more experience. Frankly that is utter rubbish. As far as I know Rob Green hasn't played in a knockout international match before. He never played in the England U21s and hadn't even ever been to an international knockout tournament before.

    Joe Hart, on the other hand, was in goal for England u21 team at the European Championships just one year before. He was excellent, saving and then scoring a penalty to win the semi-final. It's telling that in the final, where he was suspended, England shipped 4 goals.

    So tell me, did Green really have more international experience? It was a ridiculous decision, and frankly Rob Green's predictable error cost England a confident start and set the scene for the rest of the woeful tournament.

  • Comment number 31.

    Another Shrewsbury Town fan here, and one who actually saw his debut when he played in the last game of a season away at Morecombe.

    I've got mixed feelings about Hart being thrown into the world cup team. On one hand it would be amazing to watch a local lad playing for England on such a stage - i'm not sure it's happened before - and on another point Shrewsbury Town are due a significant amount of money when he makes a competitive start for England.

    But then there's the other side of the coin, the fact that the media in this country have in the past destroyed the confidence of two of Hart's predecessors (Robinson and Carson) for mistakes in matches - in fact in Robinson's case I still maintain Gary Neville was more at fault for a ridiculous backpass) - and possibly ruined his career. As I was at Morecombe on that day, Joe actually made a rather big bobo of his own, on a smaller stage.

    In fact we can now add Rob Green to that list of keepers ridiculed by the media. Bodes well for our future doesn't it, we've now got a future of Hart, Foster, 40 year old championship keeper James and the previous ridiculed Green, Robinson and Carson.

  • Comment number 32.

    The posters are right and the journo is wrong: it would have made no difference. England grossly underperformed across the park. The media have to give up their notion that English footballing destiny is settled by one man and one man alone. Every 2 years they have a new scapegoat to burn in effigy because "it's all his fault"; every 2 weeks they have a new hero who MUST be picked because he will win international competitions for us virtually singlehanded.

    The TEAM was useless. A couple of the players performed reasonably, but the TEAM was hopeless. Whose team is it? Basically the FA's. Matthew Slater's article the other day said it all about the real reasons for systemic English failure. Because it IS systemic. It isn't personal.

  • Comment number 33.

    collie21: Don't worry, its the weekend you go out and have a few drinks and forget that ever happened :)

  • Comment number 34.


    Quite right mate. The 2-hour business is another non-story for the moronic English media to salivate over.

    They are a disgrace and it's high time they had a good look at themselves in the mirror instead of crucifying other people.

  • Comment number 35.

    From fletchers blog, " In Paraguay's favour, they have not conceded since an error from goalkeeper Justo Villar gifted Daniele di Rossi an equaliser after 63 minutes of their opening game against Italy."

  • Comment number 36.

    6. At 08:04am on 02 Jul 2010, Mani Thangadurai wrote:
    "What a What if Hart had let his inexperience get the better of him and made a mistake? And let's bear in mind that he also got sent off in the Euro U-21 semi-final."

    I think your memory is a bit faulty mate. Joe Hart didn't get sent off in the semi final. He got a yellow card during the penalty shootout for talking to the Swedish player who was about to shoot. It was ridiculous, but as it was his second card of the championship he was suspended for the final.

  • Comment number 37.

    For all of those people saying Rob Green has only made one mistake, maybe you should try looking at the Opta Stats for the last Premier League season then re-judge him. They conclude that as a player, he caused more goals against his team as a result from an error than any other player in the Premier League, that includes outfield players.

  • Comment number 38.

    20. At 09:06am on 02 Jul 2010, bdyke04 wrote:
    "You all for get that the England defenders themselves preferred James in goal, as they xplaind that there was better communication betweenthme and David, which is where confindence comes into play which is required in any defence"

    Yes, you could see bags of confidence coursing through the England defence against Germany.

  • Comment number 39.


    If he is saying that Hart is a better keeper than James then he would be 100% right.

    James has always been a liability and always will be. Plus the guy is 40. I have no doubt Hart would have performed better than both keepers who got their chance.

    I still do not think it would have made any difference as the rest of the team where completly hopeless but it makes it easier to blame the manager for everything that happened

  • Comment number 40.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It is all very romantic and very English to believe Hart was our best keeper. As they say, "nothing is more loved, than that which is least familiar", he wasn't tried and he didnt make any 'Green' errors so 'obviously' he is the best keeper. Very English. The writer got things massively wrong when he wrote that 'Capello procrastinated', no he didn't! He just does not find it wise to tell everybody his plans or his strategy well in advance. You forget he did this same thing all through our massively successful qualifying campaign? More importantly he has won a Champions League and an array of titles in 3 different countries using this same method, so why does nothing work for England? Why is no manager 'good enough' for us?????

    The fact that Green made two point blank saves and two one-on-one saves in the previous warm-up matches obviously counts for nothing! How easily we forget that Scott Carson was also an excellent keeper until the weight of responsibility was suddenly cast on his young and inexperienced shoulders on that rain-soaked Wembley night. We all know how that chapter ended. Capello must be praised, not berated at preventing a repeat - unlike the two scenarios painted above we had more experienced, arguably better keeper in Green and James. Don't forget that James was probably our best player in the tournament.

    Capello was always going to pick James as his first choice. Rational reasoning dictates that you go with your best and most experienced option and on that big stage, experience is more important than reflexes. I understand that James has made rash errors in the past, but when last did he make one of those 'calamity' errors.

    We are a very unforgiving nation and once we have a bias, it tends to be set in concrete. Unfortunately this has not helped us in the past and it is doubtful it will in future. Despite all the negative press campaign, Steve McLaren has shown he is a good manager - winning the Dutch league with a virtually unknown entity and taking mighty Middlesborough to the Europa(or whatever it was called then) finals. Even Sven Goran Eriksson was a successful manager - until he came to England

    A long succession of managers have not been good enough for us. As a nation we are too proud to realise we are simply not good enough. It has to be someone's fault, it's an English thing. Someone has to be hung out to dry, usually the most convenient being the manager only this time we gunuine have a manager who is in the top 5 best managers in world football, probably top 3

    Yet even the least realistic non-English person knew England were never gonna beat the Brazil's, Spain's or Holland's of this world in a competitive match not without a massive dose of luck and or refereeing error. The friendly matches indicated this as clearly as daylight, butin our usual arrogance, we simply refused to acknowledge this.

    During the WC, Joe Cole was hyped as the solution to our creative problems - the saviour and he came in to a massive applause only to flop - disappointly. There must be a reason why Chelsea are letting him go on a free and it's not out of hatred.

    Day by day we hype our players (Rooney is better than Messi), we build them up using the PL as the standard, but even the premier league is not as good as we all hope.

    Maybe one day we will learn some humility, then maybe we can improve but there will be no improvement, no lessons learnt, no progress made until we come to the realisation that we are simply not good enough. Not yet.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hello Stevo,

    Good blog as always.

    "not only missed a crucial opportunity to pick his most in-form side" - this is the line that most stands out. Capello always maintained that form players would get in ahead of the big names, which makes you feel sorry for the likes of Scott Parker, Darren Bent, Phil Jagielka, Joe Hart, Adam Johnson and Michael Dawson all who missed out either from the squad or the first XI due to out of form big name players being selected ahead of them.

    In some respects you can see the conservative Italian in Capello who when it came to the crunch, went with the tried and tested yet woefully out of form ahead of those who had lacked the experience but were flying for their clubs. But you only have to look at the German squad to realise that experience has to be tempered with the exuberance.

    Unfortunately what we will probably now see is an England team filled with youth to the detriment of many of the above mentioned players as Capello attempts to over compensate in the opposite direction.

    In my humble opinion we suffered at this World Cup because too many of our players came into the competition lacking fitness/form and if Capello had stuck to his guns as he told the likes of Beckham and Owen he would when he first took over, we would have progressed further than we ultimately did.


  • Comment number 42.

    Nothing wrong with 40 year old keepers mind you, Zoff was 42 I think when he won the world cup with Italy. Wonder if Capello will give him a call to join his team?

  • Comment number 43.

    no. 21 Hibs-Beer-CoD-Girlfriend in that order

    I consider myself a patriotic Englishman but I'm also a realist and I couldn't agree with you more - for me the World Cup starts now after all the hype about the over-paid-don't-give-a-figs England team has died off. Why anyone kidded themselves England were going to win the tournament I don't know - look at this squad for the last decade.

    Personally I'll stick to my club team when it comes to football and focus my national support on the cricket team - they might not always achieve but it certainly looks like the shirt means something.

  • Comment number 44.

    Oh and Scouse_Torres, tell me, is Hodgson really the man to lead you forward or do you the other bloke back?
    I just posted that on the wrong blog too :-)

  • Comment number 45.

    "What if Hart, the country's in-form custodian, had been between the sticks during the game against the United States"

    Sorry mate- That is merely 20/20 vision in hindsight, cheap shot.
    Any of us can do that.

  • Comment number 46.

    Agree with #41.

    At the end of the day, players who had bigger reputations were picked over those who were playing well. How people like Upson got in ahead of Dawson and is beyond me. And I didn't quite see why Carragher needed to be persuaded out of retirement.

  • Comment number 47.

    Thanks for all the comments, and I mean all of them.

    Can I just point one thing out? I'm not trying to suggest that England would have won the World Cup if Capello had picked Hart. I know as well as you do that England weren't good enough and whoever had been in goal they would still have come home early.

    My main point was that, in the circumstances, it seemed pointless picking Green, who not many people really think is ever going to be a top-class international keeper, and then James, who's probably never going to play for England again.

    It wasn't a bigger gamble to play Hart, but there was a lot more to gain by picking him based on the experience it would give him for next time.

    After all, Argentina could have panicked and plumped for 37-year-old Roberto Abbondanzieri, while Germany could have gone with 36-year-old Hans-Joerg Butt.

    mambo - not sure about that. From Opta: Rob Green made more errors leading to goals than any other player in the Premier League last season. Pieface - sorry, I've just nicked your point!

  • Comment number 48.

    Forget the Hart/Green/James debacle. This whole thing revolves around age vs youth. Capello thinks like the FA, stick to the tried and failed rather than go for the young and untried. That's why the FA want to keep Capello; a likemainded soul.
    Much of the credit for the current German resurgence is being given to Jurgen Klingsmann who was thrown in to the German job when he was far from being a proven top coach. Similarly historically Beckenbauer won the thing without Capello's credentials.
    The English psyche amongst a certain level of decision makers is stick to what is known, whether it's successful or not being seemingly irrelevent.
    Give Hart the gloves and Redknapp(Jamie!) or Fowler or Macmannaman or even Waddle (who seems to know all the problems and the answers) the top job.

  • Comment number 49.

    The best keeper should start. Simple as that. Reputations and egos should be left at the door. You could easily argue Steve Harper is as good as Green.

  • Comment number 50.

    collie21: Hodgson should do a good job for us, he likes to play football in the right way. I have a lot of respect for him. Our club needs to realise that the position we are in nobody like Hiddinck or Mourinho would come to us anyway.

    I personally like Rafa but he spent too much time playing the owners in the media. I think he had taken us as far as he could.

    The main thing is that I think the squad is not as bad as last season suggests. We need to off load people like Nabil El Zhar though who are never going to be good enough for the first team.

    I'm hoping Jovanovic gives us some much needed cover for Torres (if Torres stays that is).

  • Comment number 51.

    Yes, Hart might not have made the mistake Green did. But then, James might not have made that mistake either, he was very good after he came in, and Hart might have made other mistakes.

    What does it matter that James probably won't play for England again? He was excellent this tournament, and if you don't build for World Cups, what do you build for?

    The mistake, if any, was in starting with Green not James against the US. But you can't legislate for a screw up of that type.

  • Comment number 52.

    "Then we have (what to me is far far worse) a player trying to fool the officials over a an actual goal. This is cheating, plain and simple.
    How a player can admit this and not receive a warning or ban is beyond me."

    Come on, give it a rest! Would you be so willing to apply this judgement to a player celebrating a 'goal' that he knows wasn't a goal? With your justice, it's a similiar crime surely?

  • Comment number 53.

    "And we wonder why there is a lack of young talent in this country."

    The answer is staring everyone in the face, but no one is prepared to accept it, nor journos write about it.

    England had the biggest,strongest,fastest individual athletes on the pitch and mostly the pundits & journos were right to say they would not have swapped any one individual between the teams.
    The Germans, however, had the best team - and football is a team game.

    Trouble is at youth level its easy to make a winning team. Simply pick the biggest,strongest,and fastest; pack the midfield with the biggest of all and lump it down the pitch. Job done, no need to lift a toe or exercise one brain cell in teaching technique and tactics.

    The result is that players with technique & tactical ability get weeded out at every stage and replaced with someone an inch taller, pound heavier, or half a pace faster.

    Until that changes then PL managers will keep going abroad for players who can change the game, we will always lose to Germany, always be sacking our manager, and always be moaning our players looked poor.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Then we have (what to me is far far worse) a player trying to fool the officials over a an actual goal. This is cheating, plain and simple.
    How a player can admit this and not receive a warning or ban is beyond me."

    I can't agree with this at all. The players' job is to play to the whistle. Neuer did exactly that. The only thing "wrong" with it is that he did it against England and got away with it.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 says "England had the biggest,strongest,fastest individual athletes on the pitch"

    pray who are these individuals?

  • Comment number 56.

    pieface - you are absolutely correct. You support what I was saying that Green is a very shaky keeper and his errors led to a vast number of goals conceded by West Ham last season. These were mainly caused through hsi failure to advance off the line which causes panic in the defence and by his inability to catch the ball cleanly. His positioning was terrible as well. In short he should NEVER have even been selected for the World Cup. The 'boob' for the U.S. goal was an event waiting to happen and if Capello had retained him for the next game, then rest assured that further mistakes would have followed. Green is that type of keeper. I'm not surprised that West Ham are are on the look-out for another keeper. Someone there must have read the signs as well.

  • Comment number 57.

    If Hart had been first choice and made a mistake then we'd all be saying why we didn't stick with experience and go with Green or James. Carson was thrown in at the deep end in a similarly important game and he made an error.

    Neuer and Romero have both won league winners medals. Something Hart doesn't have.

    On top of that all I would imagine that alot of it has to do with personality. If Hart had come across as self assured and confident then that might have helped things in his favour. I don't know his personality but you'd hope Capello would. You'd hope Clemence would.

    I wonder if we'd turned chances into goals against the USA would Green's error have been forgotten and he might have kept his place?

  • Comment number 58.

    Why can't England just appoint Beckham to be the coach?

  • Comment number 59.


    This is not a well-researched article. You are misleading people so that they will jump on the 'Joe Hart should have been picked' bandwagon.

    Sergio Romero and Manuel Neuer are much more experienced keepers than Joe Hart.

    Manuel Neuer has been Schalke 04's No.1 keeper since 2005. He's played nearly 200 games in the Bundesliga.

    He wouldn't have been picked for Germany in goal, by the way, if Rene Adler had not got injured before the tournament and if the sad end of Robert Enke had not taken place.

    Sergio Romero has been Alkmaar's No.1 since 2007 and goalkeeper was highlighted as a problem position for Argentina, he and the Argentine defence has not really been tested to the full yet.

    I don't think these two examples form a good reason as to why Hart should have been picked. David James was hardly the weakest link when he came in for Green, England have other problems- not just in goal. We all remember what happened to Paul Robinson, Scott Carson and Ben Foster and they were all touted as England's next great young keeper...

  • Comment number 60.

    There is a lot of talk on here about media hype and rightly so.

    Over here in Northern Ireland we also get Irish TV (RTE) and the panelists on there (Johnnny Giles, Eamon Dunphy, Souness, Ronnie Whelan, Liam Brady)are far far superior to the bland geralisations on the BBC and ITV.

    Their analysis after the USA game was brilliant and specific - really focussing on the midfieled and concluding that Gerard/Lampard was never going to work. Then I turn on ITV and Kevin Keegan is saying how happy he was at the performance.

    Even after the Germany match BBC stayed too general and refused to specifically comment on Terry etc. And no one is allowed to say anything about Lampard becasue he is Harry's nephew and we all love 'Arry don't


  • Comment number 61.

    All these blogs and post match critiques are a waste of time. In 6 to 7 weeks the season in England will have started and everyone will have pushed England's problem into the background and the media will be split between raving about the new foreign signings and hunting for more off the field activities so they can crucify some player in the "public interest". If only people would stop paying attention to ridiculous speculative blogs like this (I know I read it, but it's my lunch break and the people's favourite rag was even more boring) and even more important, use that redundant "OFF" button on the box. I stopped watching the WM after the England-Algeria game and must admit it hasn't bothered me too much. If TV revenues drop then maybe clubs will be forced to select more home players. Not very hopeful though.

  • Comment number 62.

    As for Capello only choosing in form players who had the better season, Hart (Birmingham), Green (West Ham - Nearly relegated), or James (Portsmouth - Relegated). Says it all really.


    You're making the error of assuming that a team being relegated is the goalkeepers fault. You can be on form and still concede goals, you know. David James, for example, was not the reason my club (Portsmouth) got the drop.

    David James made few, if any, mistakes for England this campaign - the fact is, we were let down by shocking defending as both Terry and Upson wandered out of position time and time again. Green made an error, and for that he was replaced. James came in and did very little wrong, keeping 2 clean sheets and then being left exposed by his centre backs.

    Hart might not have made the mistake Green did - we'll never know that for sure - but he won't have done much better than James did. Personally, I'd rather Hart had played instead of Green, but I was pleased to see James picked after Green's mistake - because at that point, we needed someone solid between the sticks, and couldn't risk another nervy keeper. Hart could very well have made a similar mistake to Green and ended up joining Carson and Green on the list of keepers that made an error and crumbled.

  • Comment number 63.

    Beckham as coach? Come on get real would you? He wouldn't be any better than Ince!

  • Comment number 64.

    The failure of Capello to recognise the potential of Joe Hart and therefore give him as much experience as possible in friendlies before the World Cup is a negtive against him. A top manager can assess the players he has around him and their potential to form a winning side. Another surprising error from such a renowned coach.

  • Comment number 65.

    and whats wrong with Ince?

  • Comment number 66.

    Isn't it amazing that we are all better managers than Capello? What a gifted nation of talkers!

  • Comment number 67.

    Going into the World Cup neither Hart, Green or James had a clear cut case for being picked. If you read the comments on this page each keeper has his fans and each one has his critics. Therefore whoever Capello picked he was likely to come in for criticism.

    If Hart goes back to Manchester City and sits on the bench it won't help at all.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think that young players have to be given opportunities - remember how young Iker Cassilas adn Raul were when the made their Spain debuts, Ryan Giggs started young for Wales

    We are too reliant on star names especially in defence. deals with this in far more detail

  • Comment number 70.

    Usual wise after the event nonsense. Blame the manager media slimy article.
    The mistake was picking Green. Not not picking Hart. I posted on here a number of times to not pick Green before the tournament. His handling and presence has never been good for my club and I did not want him in my national team too.
    Capello admitted he made the mistake and picked James who did fine after that (although I felt a little slow on Klose's opener). So for you to call for Hart overlooks the fact James was fine.
    If Capello had picked Hart and he had made a mistake - which James did not - you would have found a way to moan at Capello for that instead.
    Utter media drivel.
    Hart should be picked from now though.

  • Comment number 71.

    #68 - actually Harts experience is an entire Premier Leagie season as first choice at Birmingham City

  • Comment number 72.

    No. 36 Brian, I stand corrected, thanks old chum! I do remember now that it was a VERY controversial decision.

    No. 24 James Autar, I mentioned Ben Foster, who is certain to benefit from first-team football at Hart's old Stomping ground this coming season. Steve Harper of Newcastle is also worth mentioning. And if Paul Robinson has another dominating season with Blackburn, he can certainly be in with a shout. I wouldn't recommend Scott Carson, who was one of the main reasons West Brom got relegated in 2008-09! Chris Kirkland does seem to have fitness problems but one he gets them sorted out and has a consistent run he should also be considered.

  • Comment number 73.

    I hope Capello will play a team full of youth and promise, with the aim for them to gain experience and grow together. But the big problem preventing -or at least limiting- the likeliness of this happening is the power of the 'red-top' newspapers: The Sun, The Mirror etc. The press are too fickle and demand results from the national team, to the detriment of real football.

    We should allow England to lose and individual players to make mistakes in view of the bigger picture, that they will hopefully learn from their experiences, grow as a team and develop into a team that can win tournaments, and not just single games now and again.

  • Comment number 74.

    I just hope that when we start Euro 2012 qualifying David James isn't in goal again and that Gareth barry is not playing as his long range passing and decision making is awful

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't think Rob Green's ever been particularly excellent, he's supposed to be a solid and reliable 'keeper that gets all the basics right. I remember watching Forest v. Norwich in 2003 when David Johnson pounced from behind him when he was preparing to take a goal kick, and unfortunately the stats seem to show that he hasn't managed to shake his error prone nature with age and Premier League experience since then.

    Looking back at the last season, and without even considering this article's argument about giving Hart experience for the future, it seems weird that Green would get the nod before Hart. I never bought the whole 'He's played more seasons so his experience means he'll be a better bet' argument. And as soon as Dempsey's goal trickled past him I felt gutted, but vindicated!

  • Comment number 76.

    If it was ENGLAND to decide, then (i) Joe Hart should immediately be thrust into the "hot" seat, and (ii) he should not be playing -at no. 2- for Man City, but instead another big club should play him as their no. 1.

    But in reality things aren't like that and we guess ENGLAND will continue to have a torrid time of "owning" a solid stable keeper in the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 77.

    Cos Neuer was great against England wasnt he? came and got nowhere for the goal . was beaten by Lampards free kick that hit the bar ( which he saw all the way ) and it could be argued could have done better with the goal that never was. true , he made a good save from Gerrard in the 2nd half. As for the Argie keeper he's hardly been tested ( though he did get beaten by that Mexican shot that hit the crossbar ( which he should have tipped over)

  • Comment number 78.

    This is why English football will die at international level.

    The fans and press will have a good old moan but get real. We go to these bi-annual tournaments with an arrogance and expectation that our game is the best, the Premiership is the best, we make the most money, we have the best stadia, we have the best players ............... did someone nearly just crash their car when I said that !!!!!!!!!!

    There is no return on looking long term, this country is all about short term, making loadsamoney !!!!!! We dare not fail to qaualify for 2012, first of all, it will cost us loadsamoney !!!!!!.

    So you think, qualifying out of the easy groupe we have, you are confident Gerrard,Lampard et al who have failed under at least THREE different managers will do the business at 2012. Oh of course they will, look at the way they will play in 5 weeks time in the Premiership, they have the talent. WRONG, Read Keane, Read Andrew Cole, Read Thomas Mueller, Read Stephen Howard (in the Sun - I point that last one out as that paper is normally so jingoistic to see someone actually balme the papers was amazing - as was the fact that in the aftermath of SA, a poll in the Sun put 75% blame on the players, in previous times that would have read 100% on the manager.

    Think Long term, ditch the bulk of that group, start with Hart at one end, Rooney at the other and think for 2016. Do you think we will win in Brazil. The men in the white coats will be busy !!!!!!!

    Build for 2016, Germany and England both had garbage Euro 2000 tournaments (The Germans were that bad, we even BEAT them !!!!!)

    What have they done ?

    Spent 500 million on grass roots, in the last 10 years their record

    2002 - WC Final despite being in the throws of transistion, a fact confirmed because it was sandwiched between flops at Euro 2000 and 2004 but then ?

    2006 - WC Semi, not a fluke because 2008, Euro finalists, and now WC Q/F with an average age of 24. They think long term when a problem comes up, we only want to win every tournament, and to do that you have to qualify, and if you dont you are slaughtered.

    That is why the prima donnas in our England team can act the way they do, our short termism means managers wont build a team on youth if it means our press and fans go apopletic at failure and demand a sacrificial lamb (i.e. the manager) every time.

    Ditch 21 of them, tell the press and fans where to go, build for Euro 2016 with a view to challenging for WC 2018.

    You wont like it but that is the harsh truth even then this plan has one flaw.

    The Baby Bentley culture in this country. Once young players sign that first big juicy contract, their attitude invariably changes even if we look long term, the problem any manager will have, no matter how good their CV, is to find footballers with skills and attitudes that produce the Steve Redgraves and Chris Hoy's in other sports.

    Players like Hart should be blooded and should be told you wont be dropped at the first mistake if you generally show the work ethic, skill level and commitment of an Olmpic medalist but you show the attitude and ego of many Premiership footballers and you will NEVER play for your country again.

    Jurgen KLinsmann said the other day, its not all roses in the German camp, there are personality clashes but unlike this nation of arrogant losers, they understand that playing for their country is just that.

  • Comment number 79.

    For me, this hits the nail on the head.

    Hart was both 'fit and in form'. Capello's mantra had been that he would only pick those who fufilled these criteria and Hart was most definitely the star man between the sticks last season.

    Every decision carries a degree of risk, but Hart was neither involved in a relegation dog-fight nor plagued by injuries, hence not low on confidence. Capello's conservatism meant that all these positive factors were thrown out of the window for the fallacy that experience is the be-all and end-all, because tournament experience has been the key to our recent high-profile successes (!).

    Young players can only become experienced 'at the highest level' if they are given game time. Added to that, Hart was goalkeeper for England in their run to the final of the U-21 European Championships. They did get thrashed in the final but it's not as if he would have gone straight from the park to the World Cup.

    Additionally, you can't compare Hart to Romero and Neuer and say that they've won league titles or cups or whatever so that mitigates their youth. You can only compare Hart to the available English options as those are your choices. Hart had to move to a club that had ambitions of 17th place in the Premier League because he wouldn't get the opportunity at Man City. Due in part to his ability, they ended up 9th. Conversely Green was in a team that tumbled from 9th to 17th and David James was perennially injured in a team that finished bottom with or without a points deduction.

    At some point, faith needs to be shown in young players otherwise it will stifle both their development and confidence. I'm surprised Arsene Wenger hasn't already signed Joe Hart as he would be the perfect solution to one of their problems.

  • Comment number 80.

    OK, so I have read every post in this blog, and makes for interesting reading. Points I take out of this are:

    Hart is a very good goalkeeper with experience at premier league and u21 level (at a major tournement no less). James and Green are both prone to errors, therefore he really should have been picked.

    Picking Joe Hart wouldn't have made an ounce of difference to the end result, as the rest of the team were shoddy. It would however have expanded his experience ready for the next senior major tournement which he is very likely to play in (that is assuming we qualify)

    Youth is definitley the way forward from here on in, and Capello is making the right noises.

    Capello has an outstanding track record, and therefore I am absolutely baffled by some of the decisions he made during the world cup. No other manager in the world cup that I have seen (and I've watched a lot) has made so many unexplainable decisions!

    The media is the death of goalkeepers, so we really need a change here to stop good goalkeepers being ruined, and that will only stop if people stop reading, and jumping on the band wagon with that sort of press.

    Now feel free to pull me to pieces :o)

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    This is a moot point managerially, although I fully agree with the blog and it was a wholly interesting read. Hart should've been in from the start, but we have an Italian manager who will always favour experience, and by the time we reach the next major tournament Hart will have that experience. Hart for 100 caps.

  • Comment number 83.

    dapsy - if the site is so boring etc. then why bother to contribute to it?
    Someone mentioned Ben Foster- are you not aware that he too, like Green, is incompetent when it comes to dealing with crosses, and for that reason has been discarded by Man Utd. Harper is another good keeper but unfortunately he too has a weakness when dealing with crosses. Without doubt Joe Hart is the future and hopefully he will get his chance against Hungary and in the Euro qualifiers.
    Someone mentioned the one-on-one saves by Green. True, but you ignored his hesitancy in dealing with crossed balls which caused confusion several times, as the ball 'pinged' back and forth across his goal and he stood transfixed on the line, and also that he DROPPED the ball on several ocassions. No good making spectactular saves but then failing to command your 6-yards box.

  • Comment number 84.

    Reen has been rubbish for years - Capello should tell Hart he is no 1 and get on with it. Be interesting to see if Ben Foster makes a challenge as he will be first choice at Birmingham City

  • Comment number 85.

    Jonathan i make you spot on with this article, to me you are using the goalkeeper situation to sum up how Capello picks his team as a whole. Never trying youngsters, he gives players like ashley young 15 minutes at the end of a game and then says they are not good enough.

    How many times have we seen a dire first half from England and then we play much better when all the fringe players come on second half, but then the next game we are back to the regulars.

    Neuer might well have been german number 3 if it were not for the suicide and injury to the top 2 but at the end of the day he has seized his opportunity and will be a top keeper for years to come.

    too many England fans are so blinkered by so called big names like terry, Lampard, gerrard, rooney, Cole etc . . . when was the last time one of them pout in a world class display for England???? they have all had over 60 caps each . . its time to try something different. Its time to pick a team around a system and not a system around Rooney.

    Rooney is a good player who looks amazing in a Man U team that give him chance after chance, but It makes me feel sick that he has been compared to Messi and Ronaldo . . ..

    Rodwell, huddlestone, Wilshere, cattermole, Dawson, gibbs, etc are the future . . . . . Im not saying they are all definitely going to make it but the current crop have had 6-7 years and done nothing so its time for a change.

  • Comment number 86.

    @John #78

    "Jurgen KLinsmann said the other day, its not all roses in the German camp, there are personality clashes but unlike this nation of arrogant losers, they understand that playing for their country is just that."

    This is something the Germans are particularly good at. I've lived in Germany for many years and followed many World Cups whilst there. Rarely has there been harmony in the camp (certainly not with Klinsman and Mathaeus in the same team!). But when the players get on the pitch they are a TEAM and play for each other and everything else is forgotten for those 90 minutes. This is something they are exceptionaly good at and England, well what can you say, are awful at. When was the last time you saw a convincing performance by the England team? Possbily in Munich 2001?

  • Comment number 87.

    Yet again FIFA show themselves to applaud cheats. I believe every player at all World Cups and other major championships now wears a badge on their strip acknowledging FIFA Fair Play. FIFA regard this as one of the most important aspects of the game along with their relentless anti-racism stand.

    So it begs the question yet again, if players playing under a suggested oath to fair play are allowed to cheat - what is the worth of FIFA's Fair Play commitment?

    Neuer is a typical footballer - win by any means fair or foul - and you can't have a go at him for cheating as that's the norm for football these days. It happens a dozen times a game at least.

    The issue is why haven't FIFA banned him if he has admitted cheating? Let's not forget that this isn't cheating to get a freekick, penalty, yellow/red card - this is cheating a team out of an actual goal.

    Players like Bilic and Rivaldo, who cheat to ruin fellow professionals World Cups and con their way to greatness get no punishment and neither will Neuer.

  • Comment number 88.

    @ #15, robbo, doesn't anyone bother reading articles before ranting about them anymore?

    Stevo's point related to Joe Hart, not England's progress in the competition. If Joe Hart had started every game, he'd have experienced a 4-game (maybe even 5) World Cup campaign first-hand. This would have been very beneficial to someone who's likely to be England's number 1 for a good few years.

    Stevo at no point suggested that the campaign would have turned out differently, though my own opinion is that we'd probably have made the quarter-finals before getting out-classed by Uruguay, if not for Rob Green's error.

  • Comment number 89.

    nibs, you've been forgetting to take your medication again. Anti-WUM pills, aren't they?

  • Comment number 90.

    Redletterboy wrote: "I remember watching Forest v. Norwich in 2003 when David Johnson pounced from behind him when he was preparing to take a goal kick"

    Erm, forgive me for pointing this out, but if Green had been preparing to take a goal kick, the ball would have been dead, and any attempt by the opponent to play the ball would have resulted in a yellow card.

  • Comment number 91.

    Oh, and how many young English players have Champions League experience etc.? Rooney, Walcott and...that's it, maybe some of the Tottenham lads NEXT season.

    Young English players do not play in 'Big Four' teams, that is a symptom of the Premier League and its emphasis on buying in, rather than investing in players.

    Also, just to clear some things up.

    (Apps refer to appearances for first division sides in respective league)

    Rene Adler, Bayer Leverkusen.
    Age: 25
    Apps: 106

    Joe Hart, Manchester City and Birmingham City.
    Age: 23
    Apps: 86

    Maneul Neuer, Schalke 04.
    Age: 24
    Apps: 122

    Sergio Romero, Racing Club and AZ Alkmaar.
    Age: 23
    Apps: 71

  • Comment number 92.

    this is all becoming rather boring

  • Comment number 93.

    Still deluded I see?

    "We know the England players are good enough"

    Forget Capello's selection mistakes - Who on earth at the BBC selected YOU to write these blogs??


  • Comment number 94.

    It wouldn't have made any difference who was in goal. If we'd topped the group we'd probably still have lost in the first round of the knockout stages anyway. We struggled against all three of our group competitors and Ghana, who we would have faced if we topped the group, were at least as good as the best of them.

    Our problems were not in goal, it was in outfield positions where players afforded God-like status by their clubs' supporters played like scared, technically sub-standard shadows of themselves.

    If we're doing the "what if" scenario how about if England had an intelligent and powerful holding midfielder like an Essien (I know Essien has more to his game than that but you get my point)or Makelele rather than Gareth Barry to get the best out of Lampard and Gerrard, fast and cunning central defenders like a Lucio who wouldn't get caught out of position as badly as Terry and Upson/Carragher etc etc etc.

    Like many people have said, in this case the goalkeeping situation is the least of our worries.

  • Comment number 95.

    Bang on with this blog. It's a massive load of rubbish that goalkeepers need to be older before they get the #1 jersey. Buffon and Casillas are two more to add to the list.

    If you're good enough, you're old enough. Why should the pressure be less as a striker than a keeper?

    Left out because of his ability to distribute the ball, for someone who lacks the more worrying ability to stop it? As many have said, yet another laughable decision by Capello.

  • Comment number 96.

    Green shouldn't have been anywhere near the squad. Average player in a bad team.

    At least James is the kind of Keeper that wins you points. I can't ever recall a MOTD montage of Robert Green making save after save to 'win ' a match for West Ham, or Norwich for that matter. I've seen that from all good keepers, Reina for Liverpool last year is probably the best example.

    By comparison I can recall watching James and Hart playing for Pompey and Birmingham respectively, playing ouf of their skin and just thinking that only something from the top drawer is going to beat these guys today. James makes a few more mistakes than Hart but by no means as many as he used to and he is a good keeper.

    Green just doesn't have the ability.

  • Comment number 97.

    Totally agree with this blog, well said. Hart should have been in goal from the start, getting experience.

    The experience argument was just as poor when it came to not playing Dawson over Upson.

    If Capello is supposedly one of the strongest managers available, England have no hope.

  • Comment number 98.

    I don't get it?

    OK Green shouldn't have started the 1st game, but when called upon David James had a good case for being England's best player in the tournament...not much compettition I know, but I think James proved he should have been in goal.

    Joe Hart should absolutely be number 1 at the start of the qualifiers for the Euro's though.

  • Comment number 99.

    I was a strong supporter of Hart's inclusion prior to the tournament for all the reasons given including doubts over the other two's abilities, Hart's decent form at Birmingham (whilst the others struggled against relegation) and to give him early experience so we'd have a goalkeeper for the next 3 tournaments (with a bit of luck). We don't give the hunger of youth a chance in this country as was shown by bringing Walcott to Germany in '06, not playing him, then dropping him completely next time around?? Hindsight is indeed wonderful and Neuer hasn't been great but he's got a tournament under his belt at least!

    How much did the older players want it...witness the lack of tears at the end of the Germany game (tells you everything I think)

  • Comment number 100.

    "Picking Joe Hart wouldn't have made an ounce of difference to the end result"

    It would, we'd have been playing Ghana rather than Germany, and would have had a reasonable chance of scraping by that and getting things sorted out for the game after.

    That said, we'd have made it to the quarters, before being just as brutally exposed by Brazil and there'd be less of an obvious crisis.

    Just like losing Rio before the tournament, and Hargreaves and Owen not making it back to fitness, it exposed the real problems - no one stand out to do a proper covering job (Barry is clearly not that man, Gerrard maybe) and no striking depth (Defoe is good in flashes, but doesn't really do enough.

    It also exposed our stubborn manager's lack of tactical ability of flexibility when plan A doesn't work.


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