James gets England backing from Grant

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Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has backed goalkeeper David James to start as England's first choice in this summer's World Cup.

West Ham rival Robert Green made an error in Saturday's 4-1 defeat against Chelsea which led to Didier Drogba's second goal in West Ham's 4-1 defeat on Saturday.

So James returns to former club Liverpool on Monday night with a chance to impress in front of the live television cameras.

"I have a feeling that when we come to the World Cup he will be the first-choice goalkeeper," Grant said.

"He has experience, understanding of football and also passion for the game. When you have that knowledge it is good and you have to use it. For me he is number one - but I am not the coach of England.

"However, there is still a lot of time for things to change. I think they will. I don't think what has happened here will be a problem for him.

"I don't think Fabio Capello will be thinking about the administrator when he decides who is his choice for England's goalkeeper."

Pompey may have beaten Liverpool 2-0 at Fratton Park back in December but since then their problems have worsened considerably.

Add to that the fact they have not beaten the Reds at Anfield since 1951 in the old first division - a run stretching back 15 matches - means tonight's fixture will be a tough one even taking into account Liverpool's poor season.

Defender Ricardo Rocha returns from a two-match suspension for the trip to Liverpool on Monday night while Aaron Mokoena is also available after a knee problem.

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David James
Premier League

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