Cole backs England keeper

Team-mate full of praise for keeper's ability

Green: Croatia challenge

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Carlton Cole has backed England goalkeeper Robert Green to avoid the poor fortune that afflicted Paul Robinson and Scott Carson in past meetings with Croatia.

Green looks certain to start Wednesday's World Cup Qualifier at Wembley having performed well between the posts in place of the injured David James.

With competition for places rife, he will be keen to impress boss Fabio Capello in a bid to stamp his mark during the run-up to South Africa 2010.

Fully aware of past slip ups, including Carson's poor judgement of Niko Kranjcar's shot which saw England fail to qualify for Euro 2008, Green will be hoping to avoid similar misfortune.

West Ham team-mate Cole is confident he can pull it off, insisting his colleague is more than capable of rising to the occasion.


"I have great faith in Rob to handle the big occasion. He is second to none. His confidence is always high. He knows what he can do," said Cole.

"I would say he is up there as the number one or number two keeper in the country. David James is quality, Ben Foster is quality, and you've got Scott Carson and Paul Robinson. There is great competition.

"But Rob will always be on his toes and he will always want to keep his place."

He added: "Of course, keepers make errors. They are only human. Keepers at this level get slaughtered for making one mistake.

"Hopefully Rob isn't going to make that mistake and he is going to do well and I have got 100 per cent faith in him."

The right man for the job

England defender Matthew Upson believes Capello's attention to detail will give England a serious chance of contesting for the World Cup.

He said: "Generally he looks at little intricate things that get under his skin, things that we've worked on and players know that they don't do, the small things that make up the bigger picture of the performance.

"He likes to think about the small decisions that the players need to make better, or tactical things when we haven't got he ball that he wants the team to work on because those little things are what can develop the team into one that can win a trophy.

"He's instilled high standards and discipline in the squad, probably more so than a lot of the players have had before in their careers.

"That's one of the things that I think is outstanding about him. He requires a high standard of behaviour on the field and off it."