Rob Green recalls World Cup nightmare
PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:06 15 June 2018
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England’s World Cup mission brings back horrible memories for Robert Green.
The former Norwich City keeper made a high profile gaffe in the opening game of the 2010 tournament in South Africa which effectively ended his Three Lions’ career under Fabio Capello.
Gareth Southgate’s young squad begin their quest against Tunisia on Monday and Green admits he would not wish his sour experience on anyone, when he was embarrassed by conceding Clint Dempsey’s tame effort in a 1-1 draw against the USA.
“Gareth was in my first ever squad and I don’t know him that well but he came across as an affable guy.
“I am sure this squad is a portrayal of him,” he said. “Capello’s squad was built on a fear of what could go wrong. He wouldn’t speak to you for weeks on end.
“The only communication was probably a severe reprimand for doing something wrong in training or being weighed every day and being told we were too fat. I didn’t know I was playing against America until two hours before kick off.
“After the US game he spoke to me very, very briefly to say it was too big a mistake, you won’t be playing in the next game. That was it, within that many words.
“Immediately after the game the FA turned to me and said, ‘Don’t speak to the press.’ I was like, ‘why not? I have made a mistake, I’ve made them before and will again. It just happened to be at a World Cup.’
“It wasn’t such a problem for me.
“We could have lost 2-1, 3-1 but I made some saves to keep us in it.
“David Beckham was there in a coaching capacity and asked me if I was alright. I looked at him and thought if anyone has been through the mill it is him. I’ll survive. You looked around and some of the lads, and you talked about the culture of that group, they were looking at me and thinking, ‘You don’t know what is coming’.
“I always remember John Terry came up and he said the right thing at the right time and he is another who has been vilified.
“That was been few and far between in that squad. It is tougher the day or two after when your family are telling you people are trying to get into your house.”
England bowed out to Germany in the last-16, in a squad that was riven with club rivalries.
“It never got spoken about but there were divisions,” said Green, speaking to BBC Five Live. “On the bus it was probably more noticeable because you had seats arranged around tables and there would be a Manchester United table, a Liverpool table, an Arsenal table and a Chelsea table and I was sat on my own at the Norwich table.
“It made it harder, I’m sure.
“I remember when I made my debut for Norwich and was coming through the ranks after training on a Tuesday everyone went down the pub. That doesn’t happen any more, and probably it’s a good thing, but it underlines the difference.
“I played with one player, not in an England camp, and he couldn’t sleep unless he had three pints of lager and lime.
“That could be the night before a game. Every time he phoned for room service he would ask, ‘Did I want one?’ I was a teenage boy playing my fifth or sixth game.”
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