Once upon a time David James was the Premier League’s all-time leading appearance maker, but now he finds himself without a club after his release from AFC Bournemouth.
Though it's not uncommon for goalkeepers to continue to play on and on into their forties, there must be some temptation for the former England stopper to hang up his boots.
His inability to cement a first team place at League One Bournemouth ultimately led to his departure from the club; he hasn’t even been named as part of a match-day squad since January’s defeat to Walsall in which he had three put past him.
The decision to let James leave – described as a mutual agreement by the Cherries – is arguably the lowest point in what has been an otherwise successful career for the 42-year-old.
His first trophy came back in 1995 during his spell with Liverpool where James won the Football League Trophy (currently known as the Capital One Cup).
A year later the stopper was awarded the first of three FA Cup runners-up medals he would receive, as Liverpool lost to rivals Manchester United at Wembley. His next came with Aston Villa in 2000, this time it was Chelsea who prevented him from getting his hands on the cup.
After moving to Portsmouth James went on to play in two FA Cup finals in just three seasons, the first finally giving him the chance to lift the trophy he’d come so close to twice before, as Pompey defeated Cardiff.
The south-coast side failed to repeat the feat in 2010, Chelsea again forcing him to settle for a runners-up medal.
His impressive performances throughout his professional career, which began for Watford in 1989, gave the Englishman the chance to represent his country and he racked up an impressive 53 appearances for his national side since his international debut in 1997.
Even as recently as 2010 James had a stint as number one for England, though this was largely thanks to an infamous howler from Robert Green.
But since that time James’ career has inevitably declined as he entered his forties.
He left the Premier League for Championship side Bristol City, where he remained for two seasons before dropping another league to join Bournemouth.
Now that he’s without a club, what’s next for David James?
Finding another club is an option, but would he be willing to play at the level the clubs who will likely come in for him compete at?
Perhaps another role in the game is a more likely option, be it as a coach or a manager.
But wherever David James decides to go from here, he will no doubt be remembered best as a top goalkeeper for club and country.
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