England manager Fabio Capello has yet to choose between James, Robert Green and Joe Hart as his starter. Banks, who won the World Cup with England in 1966, said he liked all three and would opt for the 39-year-old James based on his recent form at Portsmouth.
“James has come back and had some really good games at the end of the season,” Banks, 72, said at the launch of the official England World Cup suit by retailer Marks & Spencer. “He looked very, very good.”
James is the most experienced of the three, with 49 appearances for England. He was the backup to Paul Robinson in 2006 and didn’t play in Germany.
West Ham’s Green, 30, has nine caps and 23-year-old Hart, who was on loan at Birmingham from Manchester City this season, has played just one half of a game for England.
“There is nothing to choose between all three,” Banks, who appeared 73 times for England, said. “Joe Hart is probably the most consistent but he has not played a full international. I think it would be a bit dodgy if he decided to play him.
“The other two are in the same mold. They make the most fantastic saves, but then they are capable of making an error that could lose a goal.”
James played the first five games of England’s qualifying campaign before being sidelined with a back injury. Green took over for the next four matches and Ben Foster played the last game after England had qualified for South Africa.
England plays its final home exhibition match against Mexico in five days at Wembley Stadium and Banks feels the starter will emerge then.
“I think whoever plays the next game should be the one who starts,” he said.
The World Cup begins June 11 with England playing its opening match against the U.S. a day later. The final is July 11.