West Ham – Robert Green: England, England’s number one?


Colin Illingworth

Colin is a sub-editor on a regional newspaper and is a die-hard Aberdeen fan. He's prepared to sell his soul to the Devil for the Dons to return to their former glory so Satan, if you're reading this, give him a call!...
[full biography]
15/11/2007 10:00:00.
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You have to wonder what Steve McClaren is doing as England manager. He flies halfway around the world to watch an ageing David Beckham play in a friendly match yet refuses to cast an eye over the in-form Robert Green at West Ham United despite Paul Robinson’s recent poor form.

The former Norwich City shot stopper has been immense since joining the Hammers in 2006 and football fans across the country, regardless of their team’s allegiance, are baffled by McClaren’s decision not to call Green into his recent squads. Calm, assured and error-free, the 27-year-old has played a huge part in the Hammers’ injury ravaged season. He’s kept five clean sheets in the Premiership, which included an injury time penalty save at Portsmouth to secure a share of the spoils. Confident with crosses, great in one-on-one situations and with amazing reactions, Green has all the attributes of a top goalkeeper, but obviously not in Steve McClaren’s eyes.

McClaren has made a number of mistakes as England coach, like dumping Beckham from the squad after the World Cup in 2006 only to end up begging him to come back almost a year later, and only stumbled across a winning formula in September when injuries to a number of key players forced his hand in to playing Emile Heskey and Gareth Barry. McClaren has a number of top class internationals at his disposal but as he’s found out, maybe a bit too late though, you need to pick the best team, not necessarily the best players. His determination to play players based on their reputation and not on current form has had a detrimental effect on the squad and the fans, but even Stevie Wonder could see that Paul Robinson has been suffering in recent months.

The Spurs keeper has made more clangers that Frank Spencer recently yet he is still England’s number one according to McClaren. When he’s on form Robinson is a formidable figure in goal. Big and strong the former Leeds United keeper is very agile and has sharp reactions. However, he has been out of sorts for a number of months now and I’m sure even he’d appreciate the opportunity to get out of the firing line to work on his game.

But it’s not just Robinson who is keeping Green out of the England squad. Portsmouth’s David James and Aston Villa’s on loan keeper Scott Carson are also preferred to the West Ham ace. David James has been a revelation at Fratton Park since joining from Manchester City in 2006 but, like Robinson, has been responsible for a number of high profile blunders in his career. He can go from the sublime to the ridiculous inside minutes and has admitted finding it hard to keep his concentration in games. And although goalkeepers tend to get better with age, at 37 David James is not exactly the future of goalkeeping.

Scott Carson on the other hand could turn out to be the England goalkeeper for the next decade or so. The 22-year-old has defied his years to put in a string of top class displays over the past 18 months or so in the Premiership. Despite being able to save Charlton Athletic from the drop last season it is widely recognised that if it wasn’t for him they would have been consigned to the drop a lot sooner. Now I think Carson is a decent keeper and I have nothing against him, nor against James or Robinson, but just what does Robert Green have to do to be recognised by England?

It’s not as if his form has been ignored by everyone. Arsene Wenger has apparently been keeping tabs on him and with Jens Lehmann seemingly on the way out of the Emirates the Frenchman will be looking for an experienced keeper to challenge Manuel Almunia for the number one jersey. But surely Green doesn’t have to move to one of the big four in order to clinch an England place?

West Ham fans will be mystified by Green’s international snub but will be breathing a sigh of relief at the same time as they haven’t had a lucky time with England internationals being called up to the squad - most notably Dean Ashton – but what does he have to do to get in the England squad?

• Is Robert Green currently the best English goalkeeper in your eyes? Why do you think he hasn’t been called into the squad? Does he need to move to one of the so-called big boys to get a call-up? Who would you have as England number one and why? We’d love to hear your views on this issue.

Latest article feedback


In response the the earlier feedback written by Neil G. I couldn't agree more with the points you made and opinions you've shown. In replay to your questions... A shamble all over, what has Big Sam achieved of late in comparison to the alernative managers? - A lot lot more of note than Steve McClaren certainly. What has Rob Green achieved of late in comparison to the alernative keepers? - Some performances to save his club from relegation, beat Arsenal twice sublime showings on big occasions. Surely any international manager that has so much time on his hands to choose his sides should have seen some of his performances and realised by how his form hasn't fluctuated at all that he should be between the sticks. The bigger joke I find of it all is that he wasn't even allowed the recent worthless friendy to prove his ability and show he can handle it on the 'big' stage. Absolutely unbelievable. If only somebody of note had the balls to come out and say what we're all thinking, and also just forget the name of the poster but a very good point somebody mentioned earlier about McClaren stumbling upon a winning formula.


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