James: New ball is absolute nightmare
By Ken Dyer, Evening Standard, in Lisbon
16 June 2004
David James today criticised the new Roteiro football used at Euro 2004, describing it as "horrible."
The England star, who says he wants to be the best goalkeeper in the tournament despite conceding two goals in three minutes against France, also believes Sven-Goran Eriksson is the best manager under which he had played in his career at Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham and Manchester City. Despite the fact, it must be assumed, Stevie Ericksson has yet to indulge Calamity James with his knowledge of goalkeepers being allowed, under the rules of football, to use his hands......
Of the controversial new Adidas ball, James said: "They are horrible. We've used them in training and the thing moves all over the place. It's supposed to be round. I have a lucrative endorsement contract with Umbro.
"We all use it though and for any hardship I might have suffered as an individual, every goalkeeper here has the same potential for problems and each attacker has the same potential gain so it can only even itself out." Apart from the fact no other goalkeeper in the history of football is as shite as David James. Apart from Kasey Keller. Who plays for Spurs. Spurs are shite.
James also revealed it was the "swing" of Zinedine Zidane's 91st minute free-kick which caught him out against France.
"It was saveable," James said. "The initial movement of the ball was to my left so I took half a step that way. It was the swing which beat me but if I had jumped to the right, I would have caught it. This hypothetical almost-impossiblity remains open to debate.
"He is one of the best free-kick takers in the world, though, and I suppose it was his ability which foiled me." Not to mention the fact he kicked it between the posts.
James said England captain David Beckham had asked him if he wanted a player back on the post as England lined up to defend the freekick but said he rejected the offer.
"The problem with a player on the post," explained James, "is that the opposition can them come closer to you and what you want is a clear sight of the goal.
"Becks asked me if I wanted a player there but I said 'no' because it's not something I'm used to. You need to practise that in training if you are going to use it." As a professional goalkeeper in his 30's, you'd think, at one stage, he'd have practiced that wouldn't you?
Zidane also scored from the penalty spot two minutes later and James admitted: "I've watched a video of around 40 penalty-takers (two, in total) and I know goalkeepers have theories about them. David Seaman had his ideas but he wouldn't tell anyone else and his record was pretty good. Patriotic of him, Gooner cnut.