GERRARD’S BACKING FOR GREEN
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.”
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