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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Time for Seaman to go?
Should Eriksson call time on Seaman's international career?
BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty calls on Sven-Goran Eriksson to axe veteran goalkeeper David Seaman.

Should Seaman be dropped? And if so, who should replace him?


Seaman was devastated after his error contributed to England's World Cup defeat against Brazil, and seems determined to ensure that Ronaldihno's 40-yard lob is not the final memory of his glorious international career.

McNulty believes the time has come to axe Seaman in favour of Leeds' Paul Robinson, with David James of West Ham and Liverpool's Chris Kirkland as back-up.

Should Seaman to stand down as England's number one? And who would you pick to take his place?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

David Seaman is like wine which matures with the passage of time. Although it is true that age is catching up with him, there appears to be no obvious replacements for him since a lot of the young goalkeepers being mentioned need a few more years to grow up and face the challenges of International soccer.

Robert Green is the man to be England's number one
Alan, England

I hope that he will be given the opportunity to man the post at least until Portugal 2004 to afford the young ones the opportunity to learn from him. Apart from Oliver Khan, Seaman was the best at the World Cup.
Emmanuel Osei Ofosu, Ghana

I think Seaman should retire from international football as he is not getting any younger and it is time to start planning for 2004. To be honest, and probably a bit biased, Sven should come and watch Nationwide football at Carrow Road and he will see the best young English goalkeeper who plays regular football - Robert Green.

Forget that useless Richard Wright and other young goalkeepers such as Robinson and Kirkland as they don't get regular football. Robert Green is the man to be England's number one.
Alan, England

It's time he retired from international football before he costs us any more matches. I was disgusted when he started all those games in the World Cup, especially when we had two keepers better than him on the squad.

Now I think David James is more than capable of filling his boots and performing a lot better than his predecessor. My advice to Sven would be get Seaman out now - James is number one!
Martin McKibbin, England

Nigel Martyn is finished, David James is not quality enough, and the same applies to Richard Wright
Dee M, Canada

If Seaman had his hair permed into a rigid "afro", and then pruned to the same shape and size as the goal mouth, there might be an argument for keeping him. He's done a fantastic job but, inevitably, time has at last caught up with him.
Chris B, England

David Seaman is quality and is easily the best keeper in England, and therefore should not be axed from the England team. David James is absolute rubbish, people moan about Seaman's mistakes; I think you will find David James makes twice as many mistakes!
Adam West, England

Absolutely...I think Dave's time representing England is over. He has done his country proud, but we need a much younger goalie to train with and become the new number one.
Jason, UK

It's all fair and well to say that David Seaman's time is up, I personally think his time was up a few years ago. But we have to look at reality, and ask who his obvious replacement is? No one immediately jumps to mind as his obvious successor.

If David Seaman is now considered to have flaws, then surely the candidates for his position have them as well. Nigel Martyn is also finished, David James is not quality enough, the same applies to Richard Wright, and the only other possibility, Paul Robinson, has just gained the number one jersey for his club and it is too early and unfair to expect him to be the answer.
Dee M, Canada

Give Paul Robinson a chance! But still keep Seaman in the squad for Portugal - if only to pass on his experience during the training sessions!
Kate Brooks, UK

Isn't it unfortunate though that keepers are only remembered by their mistakes, no matter how few?
Tim, UK

The very fact that David Seaman is still the preferred choice for both Arsene Wenger and Sven-Goran Eriksson, belies Phil McNulty's words.

The number one jersey belongs to nobody by divine right and Sven has a duty to make the best choice at any given time. However, until one of these aspiring keepers actually proves he is more deserving, the number one spot will belong to David Seaman, (still the best England has to offer).

That people here can only cite about five "mistakes" throughout his career shows how brilliant Seaman has been. Isn't it unfortunate though that keepers are only remembered by their mistakes, no matter how few or far between?

What about some of his stupendous saves against Argentina this summer, or maybe his penalty save against Scotland in Euro '96?
Tim, UK

Yes, Seaman should've hung up his international boots after Euro 2000. As a devoted Arsenal fan it hurts me to admit this, but there are better keepers out there who could do the job better than him on the international stage.

But Leeds' Paul Robinson is still regarded a new-comer, so I would go for David James and keep Paul Robinson and Richard Wright as back-up.
Yousaf, England

David James is just not consistent enough, he didn't earn his cruel nickname for nothing
Paul Cranswick, Malaysia

David Seaman may not be the quickest player around, but he has experience and he very rarely makes a mistake. The young keepers these days are only out for the glory and the money, when they should just be out there to win and do their best.

As far as I'm concerned he is the best keeper we have, and I hope that he plays for a few more years.
Ruth Little, England

This is definitely a case for retaining Seaman in the squad to bring through Robinson for England, in the same way Martyn has done for him at Leeds.

I'm sorry, David James is just not consistent enough, he didn't earn his cruel nickname at Liverpool for nothing. And Wright is nothing short of an embarrassment. Chris Kirkland is the one to push Robinson, but is kept back by Dudek, part of Monsieur Houllier's Scouse foreign legion at Anfield, and therefore cannot be promoted yet.

Play Robinson, keep Seaman in the squad and also bring in Russell Hoult of WBA who has been outstanding for two years. In defence Darren Purse deserves a call-up along with Jon Woodgate. Paul Konchesky should come in along with Bowyer and Dunn to give balance and options for the midfield.

A strike partner for Owen is also needful. Vassell is too similar, Fowler and Jansen unfit, Sheringham too old and Heskey toothless. This seems to leave only Alan Smith who also doesn't score enough. James Beattie, Jason Euell, Malcolm Christie and even the undeservedly maligned Peter Crouch may be worth close inspection.
Paul Cranswick, Malaysia

Change for change's sake is not the way to pick an England team
Alex B, UK

If there are better keepers than Seaman let them start, but Dino Zoff won the World Cup with Italy at the age of 40(+) and so age does not really become a reason (players are so much fitter than they have been).

For all of those that seem so good at remembering the mistakes, please check your memories for the big saves as well. He made several at the World Cup (late against Sweden; point blank against Ronaldo, not to mention the brave catch in the first half which probably hurt for the rest of the game). Remember Spain in 1996.
Stephen Fowler, Canada

Phil McNulty has decided that Seaman must go - why? In his article he offers no evidence as to why Seaman is no longer good enough.

I suspect many of the world's best keepers would have conceded to Ronaldinho's "strike", it is hardly compelling evidence of a keeper who is no longer good enough for international duty. Having watched Seaman against West Ham at the weekend, I believe he is still in contention for the England shirt.

Change for change's sake is not the way to pick an England team. Until England produces a keeper to consistently challenge Seaman's supremacy, I suggest leaving David to get on with it.
Alex B, UK

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time, but over the years, Seaman has been consistently the best keeper in England. To blame him for England's World Cup exit is ridiculous, it wasn't Ronaldinho's goal that knocked us out - if that hadn't gone in, we would still have lost 1-0 and the reason for us being knocked out was a lack of heart from our outfield players.

He may be 37 years old but he's still the best England have by a long way
Wayne Kennedy, Ireland

Seaman has a couple of good years left in him yet and until there is someone better, Sven will carry on picking him, simply because he is the best available.
Ewan Fawcett, England

Seaman has been a great servant to club and country over the years, but I think it is time for him to go and to introduce a new face - but who is there to replace him? True, he has made some blunders and mistakes over the years, but I think he's still got a lot left in him.
Sam Jones, England

Thank you David for many years in goal, it's time to step down like a professional and a gentleman and let new, young players lead England into the future.
Edward Stead, Mexico

He may be 37 years old but he's still the best England have by a long way. If he retires who's going to replace him. Richard Wright has been mentioned but in my eyes he's worse than Calamity James and Nigel Martyn, who seems to be spending more time warming the bench than warming his gloves.
Wayne Kennedy, Ireland

McAllister, Euro 96; Nadal, Euro 96; Hyypia, WCQ 2001; Jancker, WCQ 2001; Svensson, WC 2002; Batistuta, WC 2002. He also made some pretty good saves, but for some reason most people prefer to remember so-called gaffes.

Seaman's importance to England is best demonstrated by his absence from big games. When he was unfit for England's final game in Euro 2000 against Romania, we crashed out after conceding three soft goals. Lost against Italy in World Cup qualifier in 1997 and let in two at home to Greece in World Cup qualifier 2001.

To blame him for Ronaldhino's goal isn't fair
Chris, UK

He has only ever been beaten in big games by opposition brilliance or outrageous luck. Still England's number one.
James Donovan, England

David Seaman is the best all-round keeper in the game. Probably not the best in any one category, but consistent though-out, with no glaring weaknesses.

To blame him for Ronaldhino's goal isn't fair, we cannot forget that it was his excellent save when Germany were leading 1-0 that kept England in the game, which England eventually triumphed 5-1, plus the (numerous) penalty saves he has produced at all levels.

It is a subject that everyone has an opinion on, all keepers make mistakes, let's hope that Sven doesn't make one and omit Seaman from the future squads.
Chris, UK

David Seaman, thank you for your superb service to your country, I for one think you have done us proud. Now please leave gracefully and let the younger generation take over.

David James is a superb keeper and has not let England down when he has played, therefore thoroughly deserves his chance before the younger candidates. Chris Kirkland and Paul Robinson should join him in the squad as numbers two and three. By the way, is Kelvin Davis (Wimbledon) English? Another one for the future!
Tony Turner, England

He has no chance of making the European championships so why waste time playing him?
Russ, UK

Yes, yes and yes, Seamen has far outstayed his welcome, certain great footballers can carry on even when they start to slow down but Seamen is far from great.

He has never been consistent and is not currently as good as the likes of Robinson and Kirkland. He has no chance of making the European championships so why waste time playing him?
Russ, UK

It's funny how so many so-called football fans (experts), know more than Sven and Arsene Wenger. These two footballing minds, who have more knowledge in their little toe than the rest of us will ever muster in our lives, rate Seaman as the current number one.

Paul Robinson has not had the chance to make a mistake, wait until he actually plays a whole season of top flight football, trust me he will drop clangers like the rest of them. And then you will all be singing another song, "that Paul Robinson makes too many mistakes", "he is too young".

Two years ago Richard Wright could do know wrong, but no one mentions him now. And to Calvin in the USA, how many double winning medals have you got? Ask Shearer, Gazza, Bergkamp, Beckham, how good Seaman is.
Chito, England

Seaman should definitely be axed and the young Leeds keeper Paul Robinson should take over.
Paul Hilliar, England

David James is England's best keeper
Grant, United States of America

If you are good enough you are old enough. So let Paul Robinson take over - he has big match temperament as shown by his performances against Rivaldo and Co. Seaman has always been a worthy, if sometimes error-prone keeper for England, but he does not have the good grace to accept his time is up.
Damian Gavaghan, Yorkshire

Time for Seaman to go? I think not. Watching the poney-tailed one picking the ball out of the net is one of the finest sights in modern football!
Norman McColm, Scotland

I am an Arsenal fan, and I would love to see Safe Hands play in goal for England as long as possible, but the simple truth is that David James is England's best keeper. He has been for about a year (and should have started in the World Cup). If I were Uncle Sven, it would be the Canizares-haired one with the number shirt.
Grant, United States of America

David Seaman is still the best keeper in the country by a mile and there is nobody to match him for presence and consistency. While he does seem to have a problem with shots from long range, to blame him for the Brazil defeat is to ignore the fact that England seemed to completely lose direction and purpose in that game after half an hour or so. Keep him in the team as he is a great asset - ask Freddy Kanoute.
Keith Harding, Australia

As others have quite rightly said, Seaman does seem to save his best mistakes for the biggest occasions, whether it's Nayim or Ronaldinho. Let us not forget that it was his blooper against Germany at Wembley that meant we almost didn't qualify for the World Cup in the first place!
Martin, Germany

I can't believe the comments I'm reading about how sharp Seaman is looking. The save from Kanoute was good, but the penalty was rubbish and was I the only person to see him let a Trevor Sinclair shot go past him as he thought it was going wide only for it to thump off his post?
John Dunne, England

It's time for Paul Robinson
Simon, England

The truth is that, at the moment, no keeper looks really solid. James has his ups and downs, Martyn cannot even command a regular place at Leeds and Robinson is too inexperienced to be thrown into the thick of things.
Dominic Micallef, Malta

Gazza, FA Cup semi-final 1991; Koeman, World Cup qualifier 1994; Nayim, Cup Winners Cup Final 1995; Dietmar Hamman, World Cup Qualifier 2001, and, Ronaldhino, World Cup 2002, to name a few. Arsenal and England should have got rid of him ages ago.
Calvin, USA

Keep Seaman playing for England along with Gary Neville - just to be on the safe side - so England won't win anything for the next five years.
Tom, Scotland

Even though I am a hardcore Gooner, I think it's time that seaman retired from international duty. Even though I think he is currently the best English keeper, England's next goal is the European Championship, which is two years away.

It does not require a crystal ball to predict that in two years the likes of Robinson, Wright and Kirkland will be better than the pony-tailed legend. Since it takes time for the back line to forge a relationship with the 'keeper, the change must be made now.

Furthermore, England's qualifying group does not look too bad, so even if the youngsters make a mistake or two it probably won't matter.
Sohail Maskatiya, Pakistan

David Seaman has been a great servant to English football, but I think it's finally time for him to step down. If he's good enough, and better than the rest, then he should carry on, but being a Leeds United fan I think it's time for Paul Robinson.

Seaman should be dropped - he has a habit of saving his worst blunders for the big occasion
Name Here
David James and Chris Kirkland would be great back-ups. I don't know why Liverpool paid that much (about 9m) for Kirkland just to sit on the bench. It's a waste of money and talent, so at the moment I think that Robinson is certainly the man, but if Kirkland plays first team football there would be brilliant competition.
Simon, England

I agree with Phil McNulty's choice as the eventual successor to Seaman, but not his reasoning for axing him. Great goalkeepers develop a presence which takes years to acquire. Paul Robinson has all the attributes to become an outstanding goalie, but he needs time to make the Number one spot his own.

He definitely must be selected for the next England squad and brought on gradually as Seaman's understudy. That is the way forward as far as the goalkeeping situation is concerned.
Joshua Lim, Singapore

The amazing thing about David Seaman is the further away from the goal you are when you shoot, the more likely you are to score against him. He should be dropped, as he has a habit of saving his worst blunders for the big occasion.
Robert, GB

Seaman saved Kanoute's penalty on Saturday and he is looking as sharp as ever. As far as I am concerned, he can keep for as long as he likes so long as he's up to scratch. As for replacements, Paul Robinson is by far the best choice available to us.
Ashley, UK

I don't understand why the likes of Wenger and Eriksson keep faith in him
Neil Moriarty, UK

Seaman has never really been that good in big matches. Who can forget his blunder against Holland in World Cup Qualifying 1994? He has never been good enough, and has let down his country several times.
Ross, USA

Seaman should stay in the England squad until a suitable replacement can be found. Martyn was the obvious choice, but he is now in the reserves at Leeds. James makes far too many basic errors and the other candidates - Robinson and Wright - have not got anywhere near enough Premiership experience.

I've never been a Seaman fan because he can be suspect from long shots, but his close-range saving ability is second to none.
Neil, Luxembourg

He was a good keeper, but hasn't been for the last two or three years, and I don't understand why the likes of Wenger and Eriksson keep faith in him. The only reason he has been allowed to continue so long is that Arsenal have a good defence.

If you took him out of a good side and put him into a more 'leaky' defence, his errors would become more apparent. The biggest disappointment has to be Wenger's choice to stick with him and let Richard Wright leave.
Neil Moriarty, UK

It's about time that Mr Eriksson showed more faith in our younger crop of keepers. Paul Robinson of Leeds, Chris Kirkland of Liverpool and Richard Wright of Everton should now be the first choices for Mr Eriksson's goalkeeping staff for the upcoming Euro 2004 qualifiers.
Richard Garside, United Kingdom

He has been the first choice because there was nobody else, but that is no longer the case
Allan, UK

I totally agree with Phil McNulty's point of view. Seaman did very well for England and was one of the best. We must forget his mistake against Brazil and remember how many times he saved England. But now, it's high time for him to retire from international duties. Clearly, he's passed his best.
David Lim, Mauritius

To say that Seaman should stay at number one simply so that his last contribution is not a horrible mistake is missing the point. That happened and it cannot be undone, so let's get on with the future and make a decision based on that.

He has been the first choice because there was nobody else, but that is no longer the case. Please can we look to the future and not to the past? Give Robinson his chance now - how else will he become the great 'keeper that we need.
Allan, UK

It's all very well to say that Seaman should go, but who is there to replace him? Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland and David James are all a step below Seaman in terms of experience and reliability. Until a solid goalkeeper is found to take the helm from Seaman, I don't see Eriksson replacing him with another goalie. Besides, if Seaman is good enough for Wenger's Arsenal, why shouldn't he be good enough for England?
Dawit S, Canada

Seaman is an outstanding 'keeper, and England owe him a lot for his contributions over the years. However, for the first time in a while, several young 'keepers have become worthy of challenging Seaman for his position. Paul Robinson has to be my favourite to replace Seaman if he keeps up the appearances for Leeds this season.

Kirkland could be in the line-up soon, but desperately needs to play some games for Liverpool. Two First Division 'keepers have grabbed my eye over the past few years - Andy Marshall of Ipswich and Robert Green of Norwich.

Seaman has served his country well, but now is the time to introduce someone new
Dan, Spain

If Norwich can get into the Premiership then Green could be in contention, and if Marshall were to move to a better club he could also be there. At the end of the day it is Sven's choice, and we will have to wait and see.
Michael Morter, England

David Seaman is still the most consistent and experienced English goalkeeper around. The other English goalkeepers are both too young and inexperienced, or too inconsistent.
Kit Moc, England

Seaman has served his country well, but now is the time to introduce someone new, allowing them to establish themselves as Number one in time for Euro 2004.
Dan, Spain

Shilton: hand of god, 1986. Shilton: looping free-kick, World Cup semi, 1990. Seaman: Nayim from the half way line, 1993. Seaman: Ronaldinho, 2002. Am I the only England fan sick and tired of old geezers who cannot jump? Who said goalies could play until 40 anyway?
Shane Hallett, England

David Seaman is still a fantastic goalkeeper, and is a role model for young aspiring goalkeepers. I think he should retire after the qualifying stages for Euro 2004, allowing David James, Nigel Martyn or even Paul Robinson an opportunity to take the number one jersey.

My choice is James, and I think Paul Robinson should be his deputy - he will learn from James and Martyn's experience in the international fold.
Akhlaq Hanif, UK

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