WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: Ukraine v England Venue: Dnipro Arena Date: Saturday, 10 October Kick off: 1715 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary on BBC Sport website, video available at ukrainevengland.com (subscription required)
James relishing fight for no. 1 spot
Portsmouth goalkeeper David James says he hopes to start for England in Ukraine on Saturday, but has admitted that winning is the priority.
A shoulder operation means the 39-year-old has not represented his country since April, with West Ham's Robert Green becoming first-choice keeper.
"I'm in the squad so I've got a chance to play," said James ahead of what for England is a dead World Cup qualifier.
"I want to be the one who starts but, if I'm not and we win, happy days."
In James' absence, England have added three victories to the five earned with the former Liverpool and Aston Villa man in goal and clinched qualification for the 2010 World Cup with two matches to spare.
Green has performed well in James' absence, conceding just once in three competitive matches and the latter admits he has a tough task ahead of him to regain his spot.
"As with any successful side, competition, as long as it's fair and healthy, is good," said James. "I want to win the competition obviously.
"If I didn't think that [I could get back in] I wouldn't be here, England don't need hangers on."
James underwent an operation during the summer to solve a problem with his shoulder and was expected to be fit for the start of the new season.
To pull on an England shirt is not a given. There's good competition, we're all playing at the top level so everyone's pushing to be involved and the results speak for themselves
However, complications delayed his return and he is only now returning to the levels of fitness and form required by England boss Fabio Capello.
James, whose last appearance for England came in the 2-1 home qualifier victory over Ukraine on 1 April, had hoped to return to the England camp for the 5-1 win over Croatia at Wembley last month that clinched qualification but he now admits Capello made the right decision in leaving him out.
"I was not able to play against Croatia which was frustrating although the team won and got us through to South Africa which is most important," he added.
"I was happy the manager has a very strict policy in as much as I wasn't right and I wasn't picked."
We want to qualify unbeaten - Rooney
Another player hoping to seize his chance for England is midfielder Michael Carrick, who may get a rare start for his country should Capello turn to his fringe players against Belarus on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old has had to play second fiddle to regulars Steven Gerrard of Liverpool, Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Manchester City's Gareth Barry throughout the qualifying campaign.
"I'm hoping, it's why I'm here," said Carrick. "I want to play for my country and hopefully it's an opportunity to get a bit of a chance.
"To pull on an England shirt is not a given. There's good competition, we're all playing at the top level so everyone's pushing to be involved and the results speak for themselves.
"It makes it easier for individuals to shine so, if I get the shirt, it's up to me to try to keep it."
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