• Goalkeeper called up for first time since last September
• Dropped by Fabio Capello after infamous World Cup fumble
Robert Green must surely have a case for being the England player who was most pleased at the departure of Fabio Capello. Not that he has admitted it. Not yet, anyway. The West Ham United goalkeeper has preferred to keep things low-key on his return to the international squad for Wednesday's friendly against Holland at Wembley.
There was, however, one pointed moment when he reflected on the phone call from the interim manager, Stuart Pearce, that was the prelude to his first involvement since last September. "He phoned me up … which was a promising start," Green said. What was left unsaid practically screamed between the lines. Capello, who became England's most recent former manager on 8 February, was not exactly heavy on positive communication.
The Italian's treatment of Green gilded his Iron Fist reputation. Everybody knows what happened the last time Green wore the international jersey and even now, the images of him fumbling Clint Dempsey's shot into the net for the United States equaliser in the 2010 World Cup Group C opener in Rustenburg retain a nightmarish quality. What happened next, though, was similarly difficult for Green to handle.
The 32-year-old fronted up to the media after his error but he felt only the cold shoulder from Capello. Then, he learned via the newspapers that he had been dropped for England's second group game, against Algeria. Even before the ill-starred campaign, the wisdom of Capello's decision not to name his first-choice goalkeeper until the last moment had been questioned. After it, Green's hopes of beginning to make an immediate amends were dashed when Capello overlooked him for three matches in succession.
Green was recalled to the squad in October 2010 and, barring a withdrawal to attend the birth of his son, was pretty much a non-playing fixture until last September. Yet it felt as though something had fractured between him and Capello.
Pearce represents a new broom and Green's challenge in the months before Euro 2012 is to apply pressure on the undisputed No1, Joe Hart, with a consistent level of performance. "He [Pearce] said some kind words to me," Green said. "It doesn't take a lot but it means a bit."
Green's relegation from the Premier League with West Ham last season has served to reduce his profile. But if he is hardly the sort to care about this, he will note that he was selected by Sven-Goran Eriksson for the 2006 World Cup when he was a Championship player at Norwich City. He did not go to the finals after he ruptured his groin in a warm-up game.
"It's been good working under the manager at West Ham [Sam Allardyce]," Green said at the England Footballers Foundation Lions & Roses charity dinner. "He's turned round a pretty depressed place. One thing he can do is man-manage people. The motivation for me at West Ham is there. We have to get promoted. Whatever else happens, happens. I'll get on with affecting what I can affect."