Filed: Thursday, 21st August 2003
By: Graeme Howlett
West Ham's David James may have only played 45 minutes for England against Croatia last night - but it was enough to cement his place in the national side for the forthcoming qualifiers against Macedonia and Liechtenstein.
The Hammers number one pulled off three vital saves in the first half as England held on to their slender lead, earned when David Beckham scored from the penalty spot.
Despite being replaced at half time by Leeds' Paul Robinson, James was praised by manager Sven Goran Eriksson for his contribution to the game, which England eventually won 3-1.
"David James did very well for us - he was excellent," said the Swede. "They had some great chances in the first half and David saved us with two or three very, very good saves."
Whilst England captain David Beckham added:
"David James kept us in the game with some great saves. He had a great game."
James was the only Hammer on show last night, and the only Upton Park based player in the entire squad. However he was joined by former Hammers Joe Cole, Trevor Sinclair, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard - the latter in particular having a tremendous game which he capped with a 25 yard striker to score England's final goal.
Leaving Hammers fans - facing up to the prospect of watching their team travel to Rotherham at the weekend - to wonder just what might have been had the club held on to their young stars.
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