Green has shown character – Gerrard

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 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 major

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 has bounced

back straight away and I am sure he will be very important for us

the further we go.” Gerrard accepts the needs 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 yesterday 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.” Frank Lampard has also revealed his faith in

Green to recover from his blunder five minutes before the interval.

The Chelsea midfielder said: “It was unfortunate. These balls are

moving about. I don’t know how much the ball moved. “We were

disappointed for Greeny because we are a team and we win, lose and

draw as a team. “It is unfortunate for keepers, They are the last

line and, when they make a bit of a boob, it gets picked out. “But

no-one will be pointing the finger. He made a good save in the

second half as well (from Jozy Altidore). “I think he has got the

character to bounce back. You are playing in the World Cup so you

have to have character because it doesn’t always go your way.

“Greeny will have that. I hope so. He is a very good professional.

He will work hard and keep going.” Lampard admits England have to

improve on their performance against the Americans and win their

next two games to ensure qualification for the last 16. Now they

need to overcome Algeria and Slovenia to give themselves a

realistic chance of topping Group C. The 31-year-old said: “Maybe

the point will be important but we have to go and win the next two

games now. “All the teams I have seen so far in the World Cup will

look to improve and we are the same as everybody else in that way.

“It was frustrating not to get the win. It wasn’t a bad performance

but we will want to – and we will need to improve. “We possibly

should have won the game. It was disappointing. We created enough

chances. We were pretty comfortable until they equalised. “In the

second half we had a couple of chances so it was a bit frustrating

not to get a win which would have put us in the driving seat in the

group. “Steven scored early and after that we felt in control of

the game. They never really threatened too much in our box. “It was

a bit of a freak goal for them and that gave them a lift going into

half-time.”