Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Numbers Point to Veteran Starting

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Numbers Point to Veteran Starting

Article excerpt

Byline: John Curtis

DAVID James has moved back to the head of England's goalkeeping queue for the World Cup if the squad numbers sanctioned by Fabio Capello are any sort of yardstick.

James started his first international for 13 months when playing the opening 45 minutes of Sunday's friendly international with Japan.

In between facing the Ukraine in April 2009 and the clash in Graz, Robert Green has started eight of the 11 internationals and Ben Foster two.

But it is James who has been handed the number one jersey by Capello in his 23-man squad. He won his 50th cap against Japan and will celebrate his 40th birthday in August.

Green will have to be content with the number 12 jersey, with Joe Hart wearing 23.

There are few other surprises in Capello's choices for 1-11 - although Peter Crouch has been given the number nine ahead of Emile Heskey, who made a big impact in the qualifying campaign.

Meanwhile, midfielder Frank Lampard is confident England will be "fully prepared" for when the World Cup gets underway. England looked out of sorts during the first half of the warm-up international against Mexico at Wembley and needed two own goals to overcome Japan.

But Lampard believes Capello's side are gradually improving ahead of their opening game a week tomorrow.

And the Chelsea midfielder insists he is fully fit despite picking up a kick on the calf against Japan.

Lampard said: "The game against Japan was a good workout for us. It showed the level we were at. It was just what we needed.

"The first-half tempo was probably a little bit slow but in the second half we got better. We pressed them which is what the manager wanted.

"The good thing is that I feel as we are improving and it has been quite intense in training.

"We have been training very hard. The manager, with the attention to detail that he shows, will go through everything. …

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