England players fancy having David James between the sticks
The consensus from the England camp seems to be that David James should be the team’s first choice World Cup goalkeeper, with the players favouring his greater experience, and better “communication skills”.
James has recently recovered from minor knee issues, and will now go head-to-head-to-head with Robert Green and Joe Hart for the starting spot between the sticks against the USA.
Robert Green has so far been in the driving seat, with Joe Hart rather falling down the pecking order after enraging Capello with his sloppy distribution in the recent friendlies.
With such tight margins between the keepers, mistakes will be magnified, making clean sheets of paramount importance.
In Premier League terms, Man City (Joe Hart) conceded just 45 goals, campared to West Ham’s 66 (Green) and Portsmouth’s (James) 66. City also managed 11 clean sheets, compared to West Ham’s eight, and Portsmouth’s seven.
England are expected to keep a clean sheet in the first match against the USA, with odds of 4/5.
Tournament-wise, England conceded two goals in 2006, three in 2002, and four in 1998. A pattern which would suggest that they are due to concede just one this time around.
Of course, if they manage to make it through the early stages without letting any in, their odds of 16/1 to not concede throughout the tournament could suddenly become very tempting indeed. See the full England Specials market.