Attention to detail: why David James can beat the Germans

The more you listen to the hyperbolic build-up of Sunday’s mouth-watering World Cup second round tie between England and Germany, the more you could be forgiven for thinking penalties are a foregone conclusion. In fact, there are potentially 120 minutes of football to be played before that German romanticism becomes a reality. But if the nation is forced to squint through a set of spot-kicks, England fans can feel slightly more relaxed with David James between the posts.


Will David James's preparation mean he'll end up smiling at the end of Sunday's match? Photo: B.Tse

James has had a fantastic career. He was somewhat of a loose cannon in his early years and became known as ‘Calamity James’ for his fairly regular goalkeeping mishaps. But, like the proverbial fine wine, he has matured with age. That realisation of potential has brought new characteristics to David James’s nature. One of those is a meticulous attention to detail.

In 2003, James was invited over to the United States to train with the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. While there he gained an in depth insight into the way American football is organised, from the technical coaching to the physical conditioning of players. He also became converted to the Americans’ obsessive analysis of every aspect of their sport.

The intelligent Portsmouth goalkeeper has already admitted his eagerness to enter into management in the future, and has even being linked with the Portsmouth job recently. It is apparent that he is ready to put the tactical and organisational theory he has learned throughout his career into practice.

Sunday’s bout with Germany, and the chance of penalties, gives James the ideal scenario to do this. He has already admitted that he is studying the penalty taking habits of the German players in preparation. David James is set to thrive on such a pressure situation, mentally armed with his preparation and, most probably and less abstractly, an accompanying crib sheet.

That’s if 120 minutes of nerve-wrangling, heart failure-inducing football doesn’t sort things out first, of course.

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