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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 November 2007, 11:55 GMT
Keeper James hits out at McClaren
England keeper Scott Carson
Carson's error gifted Croatia an early lead
England goalkeeper David James has condemned Steve McClaren's decision to give Scott Carson his competitive debut in the crucial match against Croatia.

Carson's catastrophic error gifted Croatia an early lead as England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

"At the last hurdle we switched keepers and heaped pressure on ourselves," James told the Observer.

"Over the past 17 months there were many opportunities to try out a variety of England goalkeepers. Why didn't we?"

McClaren, who was sacked after England's 3-2 defeat on Wednesday, kept faith with Paul Robinson throughout the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign before dropping him against Croatia.

Scotty is a great keeper and will undoubtedly become England's number one in the future, but he didn't need to be put in that position

David James

James, who was on the bench at Wembley, admitted he was bemused by McClaren's treatment of his goalkeepers.

"Time and again different goalkeepers were brought into the squad. Chris Kirkland and Ben Foster were selected in the early stages, then Scott Carson and Robert Green and finally myself," he said.

"But until the Austria game, and other than Paul Robinson, only Ben Foster - in the friendly against Spain - started a match.

"In the meantime the number-two goalkeeper sitting on the bench rotated between five of us. It's ludicrous."

James gave his backing to Carson, currently on loan at Aston Villa from Liverpool, and laid the blame for his nervy display with McClaren.


"Did sitting on the bench prepare Scotty for being in goal against Croatia, five days after his senior England debut, with the fate of the nation resting on his shoulders?

"Gianluigi Buffon made his debut as a 19-year-old in Italy's 1998 World Cup play-off qualifier against Russia and handled the pressure to keep a clean sheet for Italy to reach the finals.

"Scotty is a great keeper and will undoubtedly become England's number one in the future, but he didn't need to be put in that position, he should never have reached the Croatia game so poorly equipped in terms of experience."

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