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David James interview: Ex-goalkeeper on Arsenal, Liverpool and more

The Sport Review spoke to the former England international ahead of this week's Champions League games

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
david james
Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper David James Photo: BT Sport

We caught up with former England international goalkeeper David James to discuss the forthcoming round of Champions League games, Tottenham’s title hopes, Arsenal’s form and Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation.

On Arsenal’s start to the season…

“It’s obviously not a very nice thing [to say], especially if you’re an Arsenal fan, but I always expect Arsenal to finish second, third or fourth, so it doesn’t really matter what happens between the start of the season and the end does it? They’ll have a very good spell and a very bad spell.”

On Arsene Wenger playing David Ospina ahead of Petr Cech in the Champions League…

“The answer has to be based on what I would do in a manager’s capacity rather than saying if it’s right or wrong without having had that experience. Managing out in India I changed my goalkeepers about – granted, that wasn’t in different competitions, but I would be prepared to do it within a league season, let alone just for cup competitions. Providing your goalkeepers are capable – and Ospina proved himself to be capable before Petr Cech was there – then I don’t see what the worry is.

“The biggest question is, were Arsenal to progress to the semi-finals and even the final, would he [Wenger] maintain that rule? At the moment, I don’t see a problem with it at all. Ospina’s decent, Cech is better but you expect Arsenal to get through the group stage – and the quality of Ospina should be good enough to help them do that.”

On Tottenham’s title hopes…

“I was impressed with their English contingent last season but I was concerned at the end of the season because the team seemed to melt a bit. Obviously that experience will turn them into a much more formidable side this season. I still want Liverpool to win the league, don’t get me wrong, but I do like what Tottenham are doing. If they can learn from the meltdown [at the end of last season] and understand how to deal with that kind of pressure, then why not? Why can’t they be up there challenging?

“In my Liverpool days we were in a similar position in a two-horse race with Manchester United towards the end of the season and finished third. With Tottenham, if they can learn [from last season], then why shouldn’t they be up there challenging?”

On the goalkeeping situation at Liverpool…

“It’s interesting, because there seems to be a lot of belief that Loris Karius was brought in as a number one goalkeeper and the only reason why he didn’t start the season was because he got injured in pre-season. That wasn’t the case. Karius was brought in as a direct competitor for the position but there was no guarantee that he was going to start the season.

“For Jurgen Klopp to make the decision to play in him in the last three matches… he’s done that with every position since he’s been there. I don’t think anyone has started every game and had any given right to be the number one pick in any position. It gives Karius some confidence [but] I think the two of them will play a more shared number of games over the course of the season.”

On Liverpool’s hopes for the season…

“I think this year is the one great opportunity for the team to 100 per cent [focus] on the league, to try and win the league. Champions League next season? We’ll worry about that if it happens but this could be their year.”

David James features in the new Heineken and BT Sport Champions Lounge campaign. To win access to the Heineken and BT Sport Champions Lounge for you and your friends click here. The ultimate UEFA Champions League match night awaits.

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