JAMES IS PLAYERS’ CHOICE TO FACE USA
DAVID JAMES has declared himself fit and has the backing of England’s players as the battle for the goalkeeper’s jersey in Saturday’s World Cup opener against the USA intensifies. Fabio Capello will delay a decision on whether to go with James, Robert Green or Joe Hart for as long as possible, but Sportsmail understands that key players favour the 39-year-old Portsmouth keeper for his experience, his distribution and his communication skills. After Monday’s friendly against the Platinum Stars, Green appeared to be in pole position. He gave an assured performance in the second half, having seen Capello berate Hart three times for his poor distribution. Last night, however, it still appeared to be a three-horse race, with Capello making a point of watching his goalkeepers in training yesterday. There has been concern for James over a slight knee problem that was blamed for his omission on Monday. But James believes he is ready and if Capello can be persuaded of the same, he could yet make a late run for the spot against the Americans. There is also a fascinating duel developing for the place on the left side of midfield. Joe Cole must have considered himself to be in pole position having started both halves on Monday. But James Milner impressed when he came on — he provided the cross that Wayne Rooney converted — and has also excelled in training.