Daily Mail - - Martin Samuel - By MATT LAWTON Chief Foot­ball Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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