James: Euro failure was blessing in disguise

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David James admitted England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 may have been a blessing in disguise as he hailed the impact made by Fabio Capello during his first year in charge of the national team.

James believes England have "come on leaps and bounds" since the 3-2 defeat by Croatia at Wembley 12 months ago ended their hopes of taking part in the finals in Austria and Switzerland last summer.

James told PA Sport: "Things have come on leaps and bounds since the Croatia game. On reflection, it might have been a better thing that we got beat by Croatia."

He added: "I know it sounds a doom scenario but we could have ended up going to the tournament, not performing well and then employing a new manager who would have had no time to turn things around.

"In that little few months run-in to the World Cup qualifiers, Mr Capello had the chance to look at the players he wanted. He has picked players who weren't fancied before - myself included.

"I am looking at a side now that is full of confidence and arguably an appearance in the Euro 2008 tournament, and a bad performance in the tournament, could have been very detrimental long term."

James is a big fan of the straight-talking and no-nonsense approach Capello has brought to the England set-up since replacing Steve McClaren at the helm.

The Portsmouth star said: "As long as you are prepared to accept criticism when he gives it to you, then fine.

"He is very opinionated and there is no way you are going to go away from a training session not knowing what he wants and that is the best way it can be.

"He is so straight. If he doesn't like something, he says so straight away. He said to me in one of the very first training sessions that I was in the wrong position for a corner."

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David James

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