Belfast Telegraph

Rob Green's heroics for QPR leads to talk of an England recall

QPR 2-0 Burnley

Now that statistics are available on every aspect of Premier League football apart from the number of times players unblock their noses per match, it can be seen that Rob Green and Tom Heaton have made more saves this season than any other goalkeepers.

That can be a back-handed compliment as their respective teams, Queen's Park Rangers and Burnley, are also among the three sides who have conceded the most goals.

After QPR's hard-earned 2-0 victory moved them out of the bottom three on Saturday, however, there was much talk in both camps about Green's excellence, even to the extent of the word "England" being mentioned.

The 34-year-old will always be associated with the gaffe that allowed the United States a draw in England's opening game at the 2010 World Cup, since when he has appeared only once, in a warm-up for Euro 2012.

Roy Hodgson has selected Joe Hart, Ben Foster and Fraser Forster for every international this season, but in a small field Green's current form could reasonably make him next in line.

After keeping eight successive clean sheets in the Championship last autumn, Green knows they come harder at Premier League level. He was understandably pleased with Saturday's and in particular the end-of-the-fingertip save that touched George Boyd's fine effort on to a post.

"It was a great strike and I could hear one of their lads celebrating just after he'd hit it and before I managed to save it," the QPR goalkeeper said.

"I knew, once I got a touch on it, that it wasn't going to go in. After playing in goal for 27 years, you learn your angles and which shots you save and don't save."

Green was also among those queuing up to praise former Republic of Ireland centre-half Richard Dunne, who missed the whole of his final season at Aston Villa because of injury.

He said: "As a professional you maybe look for different things than a fan would in terms of reliability, consistency and Dunney certainly has that."

The task now is to start picking up some points away from home. Burnley, meanwhile, hope to emulate Rangers' spirit and fervour by making Turf Moor as tricky a venue for visitors as Loftus Road.

Currently sitting second from bottom in the Premier League, they need to hit form and quick.

Boyd said: "We've done well against all the other teams in the bottom half. We've got them all to play at home so we're confident. Not a lot of people are going to want to go to Turf Moor in winter. Especially when you saw all Newcastle's French lads running out in gloves on a cold Tuesday night. We need to use that."

Belfast Telegraph


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