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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Seaman given boost from Keegan
David Seaman
Seaman is still Keegan's No.1
David Seaman has received a huge vote of confidence from England boss Kevin Keegan.

Keegan gave an assurance that Seaman was still "very much" his number one, and declared the Arsenal keeper a "master of his trade" .

The news will provide the 36-year-old with a welcome boost, after a poor display against Brazil, when he was partly at fault for the South Americans' equalising goal.

Seaman announced on Saturday that he intended to carry on playing until the 2002 World Cup finals.



David is still a master of his trade, very fit, very focused and he's got the desire

Kevin Keegan
But his position in the team has come under increasing scrutiny in the past few months.

Keegan responded to the criticism that has been levelled at Seaman by making it clear that he is England's first choice keeper

"People questioned him before the Scotland game but he was tremendous," Keegan said.

"Every time a goalkeeper is involved in any goal which they have part of the blame in, that happens.

"Yet to blame any one person for Brazil's goal on Saturday would be unfair. It was a culmination of errors. David is still a master of his trade, very fit, very focused and he's got the desire.

Pressure

Keegan's comments will ease the pressure on Seaman that must have been increased by Richard Wright's sparkling performance against Barnsley in the first divsion play-off final.


Richard Wright
Richard Wright is pushing for a place in Keegan's squad
Wright, seen by many as the future of English goalkeeping, produced a superb block in the dying seconds to deny Barnsley an equaliser, having earlier saved a penalty.

It is likely that the young Ipswich keeper will be given the third spot in Keegan's 22, with David James missing out.

Wright is due to make his international debut against Malta next Saturday and with Nigel Martyn set to play against Ukraine, Seaman's next game could be England's Euro 2000 opener against Portugal.

Seaman's possible exclusion for England's forthcoming two games could have been seen as a snub, but the timing of Keegan's comments have dispelled any fears that Seaman is no longer first choice.

Capable

Keegan also indicated that Seaman could be playing for England beyond Euro 2000.

"I think that he is more than capable of carrying on to the World Cup, especially being a goalkeeper.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that he has said that. In the early part of the season, we had to nurse him along but now he's fit and working really hard in training, as hard as I have seen him train.

"What he is saying is that he wants to keep playing for England, which is fantastic news. He is saying that the desire is still there and that he is still a top-class goalkeeper, which he is."

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See also:

28 May 00 | England
Seaman not ready to retire
27 May 00 | England
Owen on target as England draw
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