Ex-Leeds United man Rob Green on his England v USA World Cup error and aftermath
Former Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green has revealed his friends and family were 'harassed' in the wake of his error at the 2010 World Cup for England. The Three Lions were held to a 1-1 draw by USA in their first group game in South Africa as Green spilled a tame Clint Dempsey shot through his gloves after Steven Gerrard's early opener.
Green was then dropped to the bench by manager Fabio Capello for the remainder of the tournament and the 42-year-old played just once more for his country following that moment. It was an error that Green was often ridiculed for throughout the remainder of his career, though he now believes he can look back on it in 'good humour'.
He wrote in the Daily Mail: "I think enough time has passed for my mistake in 2010 to be looked on in good humour. It doesn’t define me as a person and it doesn’t define my career. It would have been nice to say it was the only mistake I ever made – but it wasn’t!
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"You know immediately what’s gone wrong when it happens. The ball hits your hand in slightly the wrong place, just an inch away from where it should have done. That’s the difference.
"You get that gut-wrenching feeling but you have to get through the next five minutes. The only thing worse than making a big mistake is making two. You have a process to mentally switch back on and reset, a bit like batsmen do if they play a bad shot in cricket."
While Green is now well over the mistake, he does reflect negatively on how it was handled by Capello and the media. Green claimed his parents were told they were not able to go home due to their house being 'surrounded', which is something he will never be able to get his head around.
"Fabio Capello pulled me to one side the night before the next game and said it was too big a mistake. I said I’m ready to play and he replied “well, you’re not.” That was a huge disappointment. You make a rare mistake like that once every six months, if that.
"The mistake itself wasn’t as big a deal for me as it was for everyone else. How it was over-sensationalised in the media.
"I was disappointed in how my friends and family were treated. It was one of the few games my parents missed, they were flying out to the World Cup later. They went out for a walk one day and got a message saying: ‘Don't come home, you can't get in, your house is surrounded”. I had friends who were harassed at work. These were just people going about their everyday lives."
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