Modest green gets set for no1 battle

ROBERT GREEN is refusing to take anything for granted in the fight to be England's No 1 at the World Cup despite an impressive showing against Mexico.

The West Ham United goalkeeper made a strong case to start against the USA on June 12 as the Three Lions beat the Mexicans 3-1 at Wembley on Monday night.

Two stunning saves in the first half were the clear highlight for Green, who is hoping to hold off challenges from David James and Joe Hart to be named as Capello's first choice once the tournament gets underway.

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Despite his encouraging showing at Wembley, the

30-year-old is only looking as far as Sunday's final warm-up game against Japan in Austria.

He said: "I can't read into anything or listen to what anyone says, I just have to concentrate on the next game, which will hopefully be on Sunday.

"If I am not playing, then I still have to be ready when an opportunity comes along.

"I don't feel like a No 1. I just feel like we have a game on Sunday and I have to get myself ready for that.

"I enjoyed the half (he played) against Mexico but now I just go back to training."

Going into a major tournament without the identity of their first choice goalkeeper being known is a new experience for England.

In recent years, James has been the man in custody of the shirt while David Seaman went into every tournament between Euro 96 and the 2002 World Cup as England's No 1.

Before that, Peter Shilton was Bobby Robson's favourite and Green admits the current uncertainty is a new experience for everyone in the Three Lions set-up.

He said: "It is a fairly unique position in that we don't know (who is the No 1 going into a major tournament).

"We are pushing each other as much as we can. Whoever does play has to be playing well because he will be keeping out the other two guys. We have to encourage and support that guy. I am sure that will happen whoever is in goal against the USA.

"Chances don't come along too often so it is important when they do that you do well because you are not going to get that many chances to make amends."

If Green does get the nod for the World Cup opener, he will have to contend with the new footballs that will be used in South Africa. With trials having shown that the new balls deviate more than usual, it means the tournament could be a big test for the West Ham man.

He said: "Different balls create different problems. The modern ball is just something you have to deal with. The management are helping us prepare.

"In a match situation, it could be different as the stadiums do change things. But it is not the worst thing to happen in the world and we just have to deal with it."