Green Puts Up a Brave Face after World Cup Blunder

By Venkata Vemuri

London, Jun 14 (IANS): If you are in England, you don't want to be in Robert Green's shoes after the goalkeeping blunder in the world cup match against the US. And over a million texts from angered fans and hundreds of critical news reports are not memorabilia you'd want to enter into your scrap book.

But perhaps it's the psychologist in him that keeps him sane and the poet in him that allows him to articulate his pain.

The man who offered a "million apologies" to his country for the mistake said: "I know I'm going to get flak for it but so be it. I'm strong enough to take it, strong enough to move on, and will do, and be ready for the next game if selected."

Three days after 'Black Saturday', people are willing to give him a second chance, even blaming coach Fabio Capello for keeping Green on tenterhooks by naming the squad barely two hours before the match.

Even among Green's fellow footballers, sanity is beginning to return.

Former Norwich goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, having already vented his fury at Green on Saturday, had this to say Monday: "He has definitely got the mental toughness. I worked with him as a 16-year-old at Norwich and he overcame some big injuries at that time for a youngster. He came out right after the game and admitted that he had made a mistake and he sounded very positive in his own mind that he could overcome it."

Green's toughness perhaps comes from his early days as a footballing promise when his father, a retired hospital consultant, insisted that his only son not stop his studies. Unlike some of his other mates, he used to carry one more bag other than his kit bag - the school bag. While dribbling and saving at the Norwich City Football Club, where the younger Green learnt the tools of his trade 12 years ago, he also gained 10 GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

He didn't give up education even after his football career took off, taking to studying law and psychology before graduating in economics. And in between playing for England and his club, West Ham United, he began to write poetry.

According to The Daily Mail, Green claims to have storylines for a dozen or so novels mapped out. He also has ambitions as a sports journalist and has already written columns for newspapers.

He once said: "A footballer's job stimulates you a lot physically, but not mentally. It's very much tunnel vision. There's no real spectrum of life - not real life, anyway - and it's good to have something else to focus on. While I was up in Norwich, I went to night school to do a couple of A-levels and studied psychology for a year and law for a year."

That's not all. Green's no green when it comes to women. In his teens, while he was playing for Norwich, he went out with model Sarah Thomas for almost a decade and so much so, the couple were dubbed the "Posh and Becks". Since then his name has been linked to many models and society girls.



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