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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Robinson earns support from James
By Paul Fletcher
BBC Sport at Wembley

Paul Robinson in action against Germany at Wembley on Wednesday
Robinson made an error that led to Germany's equalising goal
England goalkeeper David James has appealed to Paul Robinson's critics not to be too hard on his team-mate.

Robinson misjudged a Bernd Schneider cross that led to Germany's opening goal in their 2-1 win at Wembley.

But James, who replaced Robinson at half-time, told BBC Sport: "It was a difficult cross for a keeper. Hopefully he will not get too much criticism."

Defender Rio Ferdinand added: "He is a big enough guy. He knows how to deal with situations like this."

England led through an early goal from Frank Lampard when Robinson spilled Schneider's cross into the path of Kevin Kuranyi, who scored with a simple tap-in.

But James added: "Paul is without a doubt a good keeper.


"The guy, Schneider, went for a cross - I can't imagine he went for a shot because he was not even looking at the goal."

Robinson later flapped at a cross and was beaten by Christian Pander's long-range strike before being replaced by James at the break.

And Tottenham keeper Robinson said: "I'm disappointed with the way I played this evening. People won't show you sympathy."

James revealed that he had found out on Wednesday morning that there was a strong chance he would replace Robinson at the interval.

The 37-year-old was visibly delighted after making his first appearance for England since the 6-0 friendly win over Jamaica at Old Trafford in June 2006.

"I am buzzing," revealed James.

This is a confident squad with a lot of togetherness

David James

"I didn't want to be here just to warm up the bench. I'm very, very happy."

And he now has his sights sets on pushing Robinson for the number one spot, with Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia looming in September.

"I will be looking to be involved," added the Portsmouth goalkeeper, who won his 35th cap against Germany.

"The first thing I have to do is get back in the squad. The match against Germany was an opportunity but I must make sure I put myself in the frame for the next squad.

"There is a goalkeepers' union, a team within the team. If I get back in the squad for the next qualifiers, it is important that, as a group, the keepers help each other to be as confident as possible."

The call-up was the first for James since Steve McClaren succeeded Sven-Goran Eriksson as coach.

And, despite a disappointing Euro 2008 qualifying campaign so far, with the team currently fourth in Group E, James was impressed with the self-belief in the squad.

David James in action against Germany at Wembley on Wednesday
James was thrilled to be back in goal for England

"This is a confident squad with a lot of togetherness," stated James.

"It is pretty much the same squad Mr Eriksson had - there is a lot of talent.

"The result was not good and you cannot belittle that but, ultimately, it was a friendly and we have to take the positives out of the game, the fact we created so many chances.

"I'm sure going into the next two qualifiers there will be plenty of confidence within the squad and take six points."

Ferdinand felt that the performance was a vast improvement on recent England matches.

"In terms of chances, it was one of our best performances for a while," said the Manchester United defender.

"It is disappointing to lose, and we obviously didn't want to, but if we are going to take anything from the game, it is that we created some chances - and the next step is to convert them.

"I would not say the failure to convert them is a concern. We had not been creating chances in recent games so it was a move in the right direction.

"But we have still got a couple of steps to take."

  • At full-time Paul Robinson's ratings was 2.90 in our player ratings but it is not too late for you to have your vote.

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