Franco hails Green display

LAST WEDNESDAY S England international may have been a slightly disappointing one for West Ham defender Matty Upson and striker Carlton Cole, but for the other Hammer in the party, it proved to be a good night. Upson s slip, blamed on the precarious Wembl

LAST WEDNESDAY'S England international may have been a slightly disappointing one for West Ham defender Matty Upson and striker Carlton Cole, but for the other Hammer in the party, it proved to be a good night.

Upson's slip, blamed on the precarious Wembley turf, gifted Egypt their goal, while Cole only got on the pitch for seven minutes as Peter Crouch stole the headlines with a deadly double in a 3-1 win.

But Green, perhaps a little surprisingly chosen ahead of former Hammer David James and the in-form Joe Hart, came through with few problems.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola was quick to praise the efforts of his 30-year-old keeper.


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"I liked Robert very much on Wednesday and I told him this," said the Italian boss. "I think his body language was very good and his presence gave security to the defence.

"I think he has got a very good chance to be England number one. It's in his hands and I'm sure he's focused and determined to keep the position that he's got now."

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England coach Fabio Capello was naturally playing things a little closer to his chest, but the fact that Green has started seven of the last eight internationals suggests that the Italian has the West Ham man in his sights to start against the United States at the World Cup in South Africa on June 12.

"I think Robert Green needed to play," said Capello. "I know the value of James and for that reason I think Robert needed to play more games.

"The position is always open, all the positions are always open. I hope the best players will be fit."

There is little time for the Italian to assess the likes of Hart, Paul Robinson, or even Chris Kirkland for the number one spot. Capello must name a provisional 30-man squad before the next scheduled friendly match.

And that suggests that the battle to be England's number one is a straight fight between Green and James.

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