The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Classifieds -

ENG­LAND cap­tain Steven Ger­rard is con­vinced Robert Green has al­ready shown the strength of char­ac­ter needed to re­cover from his dev­as­tat­ing World Cup clanger.

Green is now sweat­ing on his place ahead of Fri­day’s sec­ond Group C en­counter with Al­ge­ria.

The West Ham keeper gifted Clint Dempsey an equaliser that even­tu­ally de­nied Eng­land vic­tory against the United States on Satur­day and al­lowed Slove­nia to take an early grip on the four-team pool.

Now Eng­land need to avoid de­feat against Al­ge­ria as an ab­so­lute min­i­mum in Cape Town this week to re­tain a re­al­is­tic hope of reach­ing the last 16.

It leaves Fabio Capello with a ma- jor dilemma, and both David James and Joe Hart hop­ing for a call.

How­ever, Ger­rard is con­vinced if the Ital­ian does de­cide to stick with Green, he will not be let down by the player’s tem­per­a­ment.

“Their goal was very dif­fi­cult but Rob has come out and faced up to it,” said Ger­rard.

“We have to rally round and sup­port him and make sure he is men­tally right for the next game.

“He made a fan­tas­tic save in the sec­ond half, which showed his char­ac­ter. He bounced back straight away and I am sure he will be very im­por­tant for us the fur­ther we go.”

Ger­rard ac­cepts the need for unity to en­sure the dis­ap­point­ment of fail­ing to win the open­ing match does not turn into any­thing more se­ri­ous.

There were cer­tainly as­pects of Eng­land’s play on Satur­day that will have cheered Capello, not least Ger­rard’s fourth-minute opener.

The mid­fielder prof­ited from some ex­cel­lent work by Emile Heskey and ul­ti­mately, the ma­jor dis­ap­point­ment was that Eng­land were un­able to build on that early ad­van­tage.

“The equaliser came at a very bad time. It was set­back and a real shock,” ad­mit­ted Ger­rard.

“From a per­sonal point a view it was fan­tas­tic to get off the mark and score a goal, and put the team in front but we didn’t get a chance to get a stran­gle­hold of the game.

“All in all, we con­trolled a big part of the game and prob­a­bly just de­served to win.

“With the first game there are a lot of nerves, a lot of ten­sion and a lot of ex­pec­ta­tion.

“Ide­ally, we would have liked three points but it hasn’t worked out that way.

“There is still room for im­prove­ment and hope­fully that will come against Al­ge­ria.”

More World Cup - pages 20/21

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