We probably should have seen it coming. Every national goalkeeper since the dawn of time (or so it seems) has made a mistake which has cost England big. Since the turn of the 21st century, millions of supporters have been encouraged to introduce face to palm after a myriad of goalkeeping mishaps.
To name a few, there was the looping shot that embarrassed David Seaman in 2002, the bobble on the Zagreb pitch which helped send Paul Robinson to the international wilderness, and Scott Carson’s howler which meant England stayed at home for Euro 2008.
Robert Green’s nightmare mistake during England’s 1-1 draw against the USA on Saturday night is another one to add to the list. His immediate apology has caused many to urge Capello to keep faith with the West Ham man, but has the damage already been done? Has Green blown his chance?
There were concerns before the tournament about him. Green had a less than impressive season for the Hammers and, despite the East London team’s leaky defence, he must take responsibility for the 66 league goals that they conceded last season. There was also speculation that John Terry and the rest of the England defence were apprehensive about Green’s selection because of his lack of command and vocal instruction to them.
Those reasons alone might be enough for some people to have concluded that Green should not have been picked as England’s number one, regardless of his howler on Saturday. But, as aggressively as Green has been taunted in the media, he should also be equally praised for the excellent second half save which denied Jozy Altidore a winner for the Americans.
When a striker fails to tuck away a one-on-one (Mr Heskey) or a winger takes a bad touch when there is an opportunity to cross the ball (Mr Wright-Phillips) the mistake is not shown over and over again by broadcasters. Gaffes for a goalkeeper are polarised which makes Green’s slight miscalculation seem infinitely more unforgivable. And while that is unfortunate to an extent, it is why goalkeepers need to have excellent concentration skills—something which Green lacked on this occasion.
It also means they need to have resilience though. It won’t be the first time Green has made a mistake in a match and it probably won’t be the last. But he has had “bouncebackability” before, so there is no reason that he can’t regain form again. As soon as an English goalkeeper makes a mistake, he is instantly denounced by the baying English crowd, demanding “off with his head!”
Maybe, for once, the single-minded Capello will keep faith with his goalkeeper. Let’s face it, mistake-dependent rotation of the number one shirt hasn’t worked so far.Tweet