Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal's Seaman may be about to ship out from club


David Seaman's England career appears to be over.

Approaching his 40th birthday and a veteran of 75 international appearances, the ponytailed Arsenal 'keeper was left out Monday of England's squad for games against South Africa, Serbia-Montenegro and Slovakia.

While coach Sven-Goran Eriksson didn't close the door on a return for Seaman, it's difficult to see how he will come back.

As age finally catches up with him, Seaman is no longer considered the man to get England to next year's European Championship finals in Portugal.

With Seaman sidelined because of hamstring trouble, David James played in England's last two Euro 2004 qualifying games against Liechtenstein and Turkey. He didn't concede a goal and, despite West Ham's relegation from the Premier League on Sunday, appears to have the No. 1 place for now.

"I talked to David a couple of days ago and told him this time we would stick the goalkeepers we had against Liechtenstein and Turkey and the reason for that is that James played well and I don't know what's happening with David Seaman next season," Eriksson said on Monday.

"To change now and then maybe change in August again I think that's not the right way to do it."

By that time Seaman will be a month short of his 40th birthday and the Swede acknowledged the Arsenal 'keeper had lost his place in the order.

"You might say that," he said. "James is doing well and as long as we don't know what is happening with David it is the right way."

At age 23, Leeds United's Paul Robinson is the young alternative, with the currently injured Chris Kirkland of Liverpool and Arsenal's Stuart Taylor somewhere in the background.

Eriksson has also recalled Ian Walker of promoted Leicester City after a six-year absence, with Everton's Richard Wright another alternative.

Although Seaman made one of the saves of the season last month when he dived backwards to claw back a goalbound header against Sheffield United in the FA Cup semifinal, the fans also remember his moments of shame: A 50m, last-minute match-winner by Real Zaragoza's Nayim in the 1995 Cup Winners Cup final; Ronaldinho's 35m free kick winner for Brazil in last year's World Cup quarterfinal; a goal direct from a corner kick by Macedonia's Artim Sakiri as England was held 2-2 in a Euro 2004 game. All three sailed over Seaman's head and both the 'keeper and his teammates looked embarrassed.

The former Leeds, Peterborough, Birmingham City and Queens Park Rangers 'keeper, who moved to Highbury in 1990, has helped the club win three league titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup and a Cup Winners Cup. He is set to win a fourth FA Cup when the Gunners face Southampton at the Millennium stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday. But it may not be enough to get him back on the England team.

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