Fans of Preston North End can consider themselves unlucky not to be in Monday’s FA Cup quarter final draw. Their team did them proud against Portsmouth on Sunday and, if it hadn’t been for some inspired goalkeeping from David James, they surely would have gone on to win the match rather than lose to an injury-time own goal. The Times reports that Pompey manager Harry Redknapp cannot speak highly enough of his shot-stopper, who he thinks should be nailed-on for World Cup 2010.
“He is different class,” Redknapp said. “Hopefully, the England recall will help him to take his game to even greater heights, but, for sure, he will play in the World Cup.
“In the last couple of weeks, he has been in great form, although I have to say ever since he walked into Portsmouth he has been in another league. He is such a perfectionist. He works hard on the training ground every day and he’s always studying videos of himself after every game. He’s as good a professional as I’ve come across.”
The Portsmouth manager expected that James would save Whaley’s 60th-minute penalty. “When they got the penalty, you are quite confident he is going to save it, he is that good,” he said. “You wouldn’t want anyone else in goal in that situation. He is so imposing that their player must have thought, ‘I’ve got to hit a really good penalty here to score’.”
While it’s often said that strikers win games, James has been invaluable to a Portsmouth team who seem to be going places this season. There’s a very real chance that they’ll make it to Wembley for the FA Cup final, while they’re well in the running to land a UEFA Cup place as well this season.