Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 20 News List

James puts boot into McClaren over goalkeeper choices

CALAMITY The Pompey star said he felt Scott Carson was hard done by and that the England team were put under unnecessary pressure


David James has slammed sacked England coach Steve McClaren for his disastrous handling of the team's goalkeepers.

McClaren gambled by giving Scott Carson his first competitive international start in place of Paul Robinson for England's crunch clash against Croatia on Wednesday.

The decision backfired as the Aston Villa goalkeeper was at fault for two goals and England were eliminated from Euro 2008.

Portsmouth keeper James was on the bench at Wembley after being over looked by McClaren and he claimed the coach's muddled thinking had been fatal.

"At the last hurdle we switched goalkeepers and heaped pressure on ourselves. But we needn't have done. Over the past 17 months there were many opportunities to try out a variety of England goalkeepers. So why didn't we?," James said in his column for the Observer newspaper.

"Did sitting on the bench prepare Scotty for being in goal against Croatia, five days after his senior England debut, with the fate of the nation resting on his shoulders?" the Pompey keeper asked.

"Scotty is a great keeper and will undoubtedly become England's number one in the future, but he didn't need to be put in that position, he should never have reached the Croatia game so poorly equipped in terms of experience," James said.

McClaren had kept faith with error-prone Spurs star Robinson throughout his time in charge, only to axe him when it came to the biggest game of the campaign.

James believes McClaren should have taken the opportunity to look at other options sooner, so the new goalkeeper would have a feel for the international stage.

"Time and again different goalkeepers were brought into the squad -- Chris Kirkland and Ben Foster were selected in the early stages, then Scott Carson and Robert Green and finally myself," the former Liverpool keeper said.

"But until the Austria game, and other than Paul Robinson, only Ben Foster -- in the friendly against Spain -- started a match," James said.

"In the meantime the No. 2 goalkeeper sitting on the bench rotated between five of us. It's ludicrous," he said.

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