May 28, 2012
Spare a thought for Robert Green, no matter what he does with the rest of his career, one moment will always define him. One error in one high-profile game has rendered every other save he ever makes completely redundant – he’s a ‘calamity keeper’ forever now.
It’s deeply unfair, and because of Joe Hart’s age and undisputed status as England’s first-choice keeper, Green will never get the chance to make amends for his error in Rustenburg.
That’s a tough place to be in.
That being said, Green doesn’t get nearly enough plaudits for still making himself available for England selection. Given his part in the Clint Dempsey goal, and given the hounding he took at the hands of the press, it would have been very easy for him to trot out the line about ‘wanting to concentrate on his club career’ and retiring from international duty.
Lesser men would’ve done, and lesser men have. Contrast Green’s approach with that of Ben Foster and Paul Robinson, both of whom prematurely removed their names from consideration for no other reason than a sulk over non-selection. Robinson was castigated for a freak moment in Croatia, true, but Foster clearly deems himself above sitting on the bench for his country.
Saturday night’s friendly with Norway saw Green look nervy and uncertain, but what did anybody expect – at least he has the balls to stare his considerable England demons in the face. Co-commentators and football writers alike have made cutting jibes about how our collective world would crumble if Joe Hart got injured between now and the game with France in Donetsk, but that’s actually incredibly cruel. How about instead of that, we show some gratitude for having a goalkeeper of considerable talent on the England bench?
He may very well be a permanent fixture on the blooper DVDs, but Green has never hidden from his mistake – and given the mental aspect of goalkeeping, he’s shown considerable fortitude just by putting an England shirt on again.