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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 10:42 GMT
Seaman reaches grand milestone
Arsenal keeper David Seaman joins an exclusive club on Saturday when he plays his 1,000th first-team game.

Arsenal keeper David Seaman in action against Newcastle recently
Seaman has resisted calls to retire from England duty

Seaman has played 999 games for club and country and reaches the milestone against Blackburn in the Premiership.

The 39-year-old will become only the third English player - after Tony Ford and Peter Shilton - to reach four figures.

It is a timely riposte to those who insisted his career was at an end after his high-profile mishap against Brazil in last summer's World Cup.

That was followed by other embarrassing mistakes against Macedonia and Bolton, but Seaman has resisted calls for his retirement.

He will decide at the end of this season, just a few months short of his 40th birthday, whether to continue playing at the top level for another year.

"I'm 39 now and I've been a number one since I was 19 so I know that I've clocked up quite a few appearances," Seaman said.

"It will be a great landmark to reach. I knew it was close and I've heard it mentioned a few times, but it's not the sort of thing that I go home and make a note of after every game."

Seaman's journey
1963: Born in Rotherham
1982: Joins Peterborough (106 games) after failing to make grade at Leeds
1984: Moves to Birmingham (84 games)
1986: Joins QPR (175 games)
1988: Makes England debut v Saudi Arabia
1990: Joins Arsenal for 1.3m
1991: Wins first of three league titles
1996: Helps England to semi-finals of Euro '96
1998: Part of England side at World Cup
2002: Helps Arsenal to league and cup double, and England to the World Cup quarter-finals
2003: Poised for 1000th game

Seaman, who was awarded the MBE in 1996, has won 75 England caps, having made his international debut against Saudi Arabia in November 1988.

Despite his much-discussed errors, he remains Sven-Goran Eriksson's first-choice keeper for competitive games.

Having started his career at Leeds, but not featured in their first team, Seaman played for Peterborough, Birmingham and QPR before joining Arsenal in 1990.

He has since won three league titles, three FA Cups, one Coca-Cola Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Arsene Wenger came close to signing Brazilian international Marcos recently, and Seaman is lined up to become the club's goalkeeping coach.

But the Arsenal manager believes Seaman is far from finished yet.

"David's had a great season," Wenger said recently.

"He started off under a lot of public criticism but has kept everyone quiet and that shows how well he's done as people were ready to slaughter him.

"He's the kind of guy who, when his back is to the wall, puts that extra amount in.

"He is in very good condition. His physical tests are even better now than they were in 1999, for example."


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