My friends were harassed after my big mistake

■ Rob Green will join BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 5 Live for their coverage of every game at World Cup 2022. By ROB GREEN FORMER ENGLAND WORLD CUP KEEPER



dmg media (UK)

World Cup 2022

IWAS doing the school run when I found out England had drawn USA in their group at the World Cup. I had just enough time to send one tweet, with one emoji, a pair of eyes. As if to say: ‘Well, this is awkward.’ 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. 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 to mentally switch back on and reset, a bit like batsmen do if they play a bad shot. It’s not until you’re walking in at the end of the game that you realise the magnitude of it. Only then do you realise it was a big error and the whole world is watching. I was disappointed but you know as a goalkeeper that these things happen. You make mistakes in your career. Fabio Capello pulled me to one side the night before the next game and said it was too big a mistake. I said was ready to play and he replied, ‘Well, you’re not’. That was a huge disappointment. You make a 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. It was oversensationalised 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. Social media was not as big as it is now. You could switch your phone off and get away from it all. But if one of the lads makes a mistake in Qatar, it will be over a lot quicker. Everyone sees every game, it will get brought up, but people move on quickly. For me, it was something that I lived with and moved on. Since retiring, it is not something that’s lingered in my past. It is something that happened in a game of football. Everyone in their careers tries to do the best they can and, sometimes, things happen — but that’s life.