England urged to go Green

The confirmation of England's first friendlies after the failure to qualify for EURO 2008 has again raised speculation about the new manager and which players might earn the chance to shine.

The national team will take on Switzerland at Wembley on 6 February and will then travel to meet France at the Stade de France on 26 March. Hoping to be in the frame for both fixtures will be Robert Green. The West Ham United No1 has won many admirers this season for his outstanding form but has been denied the chance to add to his one England cap.

Chief among his fans is Mervyn Day, the club's assistant manager. As a former goalkeeper at the Boleyn Ground between 1973 and 1979, Day is well placed to judge the chances of the club's No1. "If you are looking for someone who is consistently playing at the top of his game in the Premier League, you'd have to go somewhere different to find a good goalkeeper. Robert has been arguably the most consistent.

"I can't believe Robert hasn't got in the England squad," he added. "He has been consistently excellent for the last nine or ten months. In the run-in to last season he won us two or three games on his own. You only have to look back to the Arsenal away game where we scored a very good goal but he got 25 out of 10 for his performance. He has been excellent again for us this year."

Day admitted there was strong competition from Paul Robinson and Scott Carson, who replaced the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper for the decisive 3-2 defeat by Croatia last month that cost England a place at next summer's EURO finals. However, he just cannot look further than Green. "I don't think there is necessarily a goalkeeping crisis, you should just pick the ones that are in form."

He hoped that Green might benefit from the change in managerial position, citing the example of Sven-Goran Eriksson taking over the England job back in 2001 and then giving the previously unheralded Chris Powell a run of games at left-back. "Sven looked about and thought 'I have got no pre-conceived ideas, let's see who is in form'.

"Why not for Robert? Everybody who comes in should start with a fresh slate. Have a look at who's playing well - what they are doing for their club sides and if they do it honestly then Robert must have a fabulous chance." Such an approach would also raise the hopes of outfield players like Matthew Upson and Scott Parker, both capped by England in the past and with aspirations of still representing their country.

For Day, Green's claim is undeniable and he has been more than impressed by what he has seen in the past year and has particular praise for the work put in by goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko. "Robert is very calm and unflappable. He is confident in his own ability. He works his socks off, he is always in the gym doing his weights but he has got that ability to shut things out. If things go wrong for him, he doesn't dwell on it. He gets on with what he has got to do next.

"He has got a very balanced view of life. He is not obsessed with watching football outside of West Ham. He comes in and does his job but has got the ability to relax. You can get too wrapped up in things but he handles it very well."