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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 06:51 GMT 07:51 UK
England stars back keeper

David Seaman comes to terms with his early mistake against Macedonia
Seaman looks distraught after his howler
Sol Campbell gave his solid backing to David Seaman and insisted: "He's still England's number one."

The big defender also dismissed suggestions that England have failed to move on from the World Cup, but have stood still.

After a disappointing 2-2 draw with minnows Macedonia, Campbell said: "You only have to look at Wales' result to see that good teams are getting beaten all the time.

"Most teams can play football these days.

"Ask the question of whether we have made progress when we get to the European Championship finals.

Sol Campbell faces the press following England's draw with Macedonia
Campbell backs his Arsenal team-mate
"Then we will see if England are improving."

Another Seaman clanger will have the vultures circling around him, but Arsenal team-mate Campbell steadfastly refused to point the finger at him.

Seaman was wide-eyed and legless as Artim Sakiri's corner provided the England keeper with a re-visit of his World Cup howler.

Like Ronaldinho's goal for Brazil, though, Campbell maintained Seaman was the luckless victim of another freak.

Campbell said: "There was nothing David could do about it.

"I don't think the guy meant to do that from a corner. It was whipped in with such pace and with such a lot of curl that it was like a shot.

  Seaman shockers
1995: Nayim scores from near the halfway line to win the European Cup Winners' Cup for Real Zaragoza
2002: Ronaldinho scores from 35-yards out with a curling free-kick to win the World Cup quarter-final for Brazil
2002: Artim Sakiri's corner for Macedonia deceives the Arsenal keeper in a Euro 2004 qualifier

"I wouldn't blame David at all, and nobody is pointing any fingers at him in the dressing-room.

"We all stick together. When we win it's all together and we're not going to start chucking blame around."

Full-back Gary Neville also supported the Arsenal keeper.

"He is still England's number one," the Manchester United defender said.

"He's the best goalkeeper in England in all the time that I've played with my country.

"He's been absolutely outstanding and I would expect him to carry on because he is the best goalkeeper."

But, as well as personal stick for Seaman, England's players know they are in for a rough ride in failing to beat a Macedonia team ranked more than 80 places below them.

Campbell admitted: "On paper we should beat them, but football is never easy.

"What it means is that we have to beat teams like Turkey home and away.

"We certainly don't make things easy for ourselves, but we have belief.

"Nobody thought we would qualify for the World Cup but we went and beat Germany."

Former England keeper Phil Parkes
"As a goalkeeper you thrive on confidence"
Former England keeper Alec Stepney
"These things are bound to happen"
England defender Sol Campbell
"No-one plays the perfect game"
Should England drop David Seaman?



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