Leeds United: Green remains my No 1, insists Monk

Leeds United head coach Garry Monk has offered Rob Green his unequivocal backing and ruled out any prospect of a change of goalkeeper this weekend after Green's costly error in Sunday's defeat to Newcastle United.

Thursday, 24th November 2016, 5:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:40 am
Rob Green.

Leeds United head coach Garry Monk has offered Rob Green his unequivocal backing and ruled out any prospect of a change of goalkeeper this weekend after Green’s costly error in Sunday’s defeat to Newcastle United.

Monk gave a clear indication that Green’s position as first choice was not under threat despite the first-half fumble which led to the opening goal in Newcastle’s 2-0 win at Elland Road.

Green palmed a lob from Jack Colback into the path of Dwight Gayle, leaving the Championship’s top scorer with a tap-in from a yard out, but Monk expressed his confidence in a keeper who has been part of his starting line-up since the first day of the season.

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Monk has Marco Silvestri in reserve but Silvestri has been limited to appearances in the League Cup this term – one outstanding performance leading to a penalty shoot-out win over Norwich City in round four last month – and the experienced Ross Turnbull is so peripheral that he no longer features in United’s matchday squad list.

Monk looks certain to retain Green in his starting side at bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United on Saturday after dismissing suggestions that the ex-England international being dropped to make way for Silvestri.

Asked if Green’s error might influence his thinking, Monk said: “No. Football’s football. Of course you don’t want to make mistakes and no-one goes out intentionally to make mistakes but they do happen, especially in those type of areas.

“Rob’s experienced enough and clever enough to deal with those situations.

“If you look at the whole team, every single one of those players has made a mistake throughout the season. You can’t judge players on mistakes. You judge them on their reaction.

“They know where they are and we don’t make a big deal of it. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice and you want to learn from it but it doesn’t matter how old you are, a young Ronaldo (Vieira) at 18 or Rob in his late 30s - it’s the same process.

“We’re all in it together, we all support each other and we’re just focused on performing this weekend.”

Green has been a fixture in an increasingly consistent Leeds side and part of a reliable defence whose record is on a par with the majority of sides in the Championship’s top 10.

His campaign has been affected by the occasional mistake but centre-back Kyle Bartley spoke out in his defence after the Newcastle loss, saying Green had “saved us nine to 12 points already this season.”

The former West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers player turns 37 in January but has spoken previously about playing on into his 40s. The one-year deal he signed when he joined Leeds from QPR in July is due to be extended by another 12 months when Green reaches a set number of appearances.

Monk, who will be without the suspended Pontus Jansson at Rotherham, insisted he was happy with his side’s defensive performance, saying: “Even against Newcastle I felt we were very good. We suffered a lot of pressure in the first 25 minutes but if you really look at the game they didn’t have many chances.

“With everything, offensively and defensively, we’re very consistent. It’s just that last little percentage in some games - the things that can affect a game when the margins are small. We have to get on top of those. But consistency-wise we’re pretty much where we should be.”