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David James: Fear not a factor in England's poor display

David James has rejected Fabio Capello's claim that England played with fear in Cape Town last night.

Restored to Capello's starting line-up for the first time in over 14 months and making his first appearance in a World Cup game, James managed to keep a clean sheet against Algeria.

There was precious little celebrating going on though, as England also drew a blank at the other end, leaving them needing to beat Slovenia in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday if they are to avoid the almost certain humiliation of an early flight home.

In grasping for a reason why his players should perform so poorly, Capello claimed an element of fear had returned.

James is not sure that is correct.

"Did he," retorted James.

"Arguably it is more frustration than fear.

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"You are usually playing matches when the opposition wants to win. It is very difficult when you are up against a side who seem not to want to lose.

"You are trying to work out the way to unlock a defence. They did what they needed to do. It was very frustrating."

James' comments hardly hint at a unified dressing room and former manager Graham Taylor is not on his own in expressing a belief all is not well in camp Capello.

Joe Cole in particular must wonder why he has been overlooked in England's two games so far when the Three Lions were so obviously bereft of invention.

Yet James insists the spirit is strong enough for England to steer themselves through such choppy waters and claim a place in the knockout stages.

"We are tight enough to recover and win this game," he said.

"I don't have any doubts about that at all.

"The reality is if we get a good win on Wednesday we finish top of the group.

"Regardless of whether we win one and draw two or win all three, you are top, which is what our aim was.

"I have the utmost confidence in our squad."

It has been claimed that Capello's persistence in not telling the players exactly who was going to be involved until five minutes before they boarded the team bus for the stadium is undermining morale.

James was the lucky man last night as Capello delivered a fatal blow to Robert Green's hopes of retaining the goalkeeping jersey.

After claiming he wanted to assess Green's state of mind before reaching his conclusion, the Italian surely shattered the 30-year-old's chances of making any meaningful contribution with the method of his axing.

But James, while not giving the impression of being a fan of such a selection policy, refused to criticise it.

"The selection process is the same match after match and I found out five minutes before we left as usual," he said.

"I prepared to play and did all the pre-match preparations which I needed to. Being selected was nice.

"I have been happy with it as a starting player and I have to accept it when I haven't started.

"Now the whole process goes on again for Wednesday. The fact I've played one game doesn't mean I'm guaranteed to play the next."

James' fear is that England, after failing to find a way past Algeria, may find the task even more difficult against Slovenia.

If anything, they have even less reason to commit men forward given a draw is enough to book their passage into the last 16.

"I know we will go to win," he said. "The difficulty will be, as was the case yesterday, is that we are up against a side that doesn't want to lose.

"It is going to be tough.

"As much as people have said the ball is going to be an influence, the games have been tight across the board.

"Everyone expected Germany to romp past Serbia but they ended up getting beaten. It is a very tight World Cup."

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