Green is No1 for Zola

Robert Green has all the attributes to be England's No1 at this summer's FIFA World Cup, according to Gianfranco Zola.

The West Ham United manager was impressed by his goalkeeper's performance in England's 3-1 friendly victory over Egypt at Wembley last week, praising the 30-year-old for his "presence".

Previously, Green himself had joked about his position in the England pecking order, even having 'England's No6' stitched into his gloves at one stage. Now, however, he appears to have seen off the challenge of former Hammer David James, Birmingham City youngster Joe Hart and Manchester United's Ben Foster.

While Zola admitted Green had not begun the 2009/10 season in top form, his work ethic and willingness to learn had put him in pole position to start between the sticks for Fabio Capello's side in South Africa.

"I liked Robert very much on Wednesday and I told him this. I think his body language was very good the other day. He didn't have much to do, obviously, and in my opinion he couldn't do anything with the goal. I think his presence was excellent and he gave security to the defence.

"I think he has got a very good chance [to be England's No1]. It's in his hands and I'm sure he's focused and determined to keep the position that he's got now.

"Of course I think he is good enough to be England's goalkeeper, but it's not very important what I think, because it is what Capello thinks [that is important]. As far as I'm concerned, he is a good goalkeeper and in the last few weeks he's been in good form."

As well as his ability and studious approach to his art, Zola also praised Green's mental fortitude in overcoming an uncertain start to the season to become England's first-choice goalkeeper.

"He didn't start the season very well but he's been very good over the last few months. In my opinion, he has improved because he has learnt from his mistakes.

"I see him playing and training and I see him improving and I also see his attitude towards his work, which is excellent, and I'm sure the England staff notice this as well.

"I don't think [he every felt bitter about being overlooked in the past]. I think he saw it as a challenge and he faced it as a challenge. He worked hard because he knew that, to get into the national team and be the No1, you have to work hard.

"He knows that, and he is applying himself very much. I'm pleased because there is no better feeling than when you work hard for something and are getting results."