You’ve recently backed Rob Green to get the number one spot in the England team for the World Cup. Why him ahead of Hart and James? Well people asked me who I thought was favourite to play in the first match and with the process of elimination I said Rob Green. I think he has got his nose in front, just slightly really, because he’s played pretty regularly in the last 18 months.
I know West Ham have struggled but club form isn’t international form, and with David James we know what we’re going to get because of his experience and he’s been England’s goalkeeper before and lost his place but he’s got a lot of vital experience.
And Joe Hart is really the unknown, he’s come through. I don’t think Fabio Capello would have put him in the squad if he didn’t think he was going to be happy to play him. But whether he's quite got the experience to go in at the first match I don't know because we saw the situation with Scott Carson a few years back against Croatia.
Green and James have both played in struggling teams this season. Is that bad preparation or good practice? Well it’s not ideal, but having said they have had plenty of practice. But as long as their form hasn’t dipped dramatically, which I think it hasn’t really - I mean there’s been little goals that have gone in that normally, maybe they wouldn’t let in, in a side that wasn’t struggling. But I don’t think there has been a dramatic loss of form. Both of them are in good enough form to be in the England team.
When you played in Mexico in 1986 the temperature was unbelievable but have you experienced the altitude they will do this year? Mexico was altitude as well. We went to Colorado for four weeks and trained at altitude for Mexico. It is different, the ball moves through the air when you’re playing in altitude. But from a training point of view, it's hard to describe, you feel great when you come down from altitude to sea level, it only lasts for so long but you do feel tremendous. Even I could run a long way when we trained at altitude.
There’s a lot of competition for the goalkeeping spot, with several players missing out such as Ben Foster, Paul Robinson and Scott Carson. Is it good to have that competition? We’ve got more goalkeepers playing in league football, which is good. But we haven’t got anyone that’s been there and really established themselves and that’s why we're having this debate. But it doesn’t mean to say someone like Rob Green or Joe Hart can't go in there and do a terrific job.
When players like Robinson and James have calamitous moments are they able to get rid of that reputation? Well David’s at that age now, he had that one good season at Portsmouth when they won the FA Cup and he was really consistent and brilliant, and if he was back to that sort of form you wouldn’t be talking about it, he’d be in the England team and playing regularly.
But since then he’s obviously had moments with England and for Portsmouth again so he hasn’t really got rid of that and I think he’s never going to get rid of it.
Looking at England’s chances, you played under Brian Clough and Bobby Robson. How good is Fabio Capello and can he lead England to World Cup victory? Well there’s no reason why not. We're in with a good shout. I mean you need a bit of luck but Capello’s done a terrific job, you couldn’t have asked for anything more but it’s a big tournament for him coming up, it’s a big tournament for him to prove himself.
I think he’s brought a lot of good discipline and things to the England squad, organisation, back to basics attitude, and I think the players have responded, the results have gradually got better, the players seem to know what is expected of them.
We’ve had some good results in qualifying, although it wasn’t a hard group, but we beat Germany in Germany. So it’s all there now, this is the big test and obviously it’s all to play for. But confidence wise, I think everyone’s looking forward to progressing and doing really well and there’s no reason why we can't. We’re third favourites with the bookies and I think that’s about right really, just slightly behind Spain and Brazil.
You played in three World Cups so have bags of experience. What advice would you be giving to the three contenders for the goalkeeping spot? If I had to say something, I’d say you’ve got to be confident when you play for England, you’ve got to believe in yourself, and you're judged a lot of the time on the mistakes you make. It’s to be solid and secure and then brilliant second. Do a good steady job, be confident, organise your defence and if you can be brilliant, that’s the added bit we’re looking for. Try and cut out the mistakes. Every goalkeeper makes mistakes but you can’t afford to make too many in a World Cup.
Words: Owen Edwards. Interview: June 2010. Peter Shilton is pictured signing a National Express coach which has been touring the country collecting signatures of good luck from fans and celebrities. Leave yours at Nation Expects on Facebook here.