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ISL: David James happy to be back with Kerala Blasters, focuses on short term goals

David James’ appointment as the head coach of Kerala Blasters is something that happened very quickly, but the former England national football team goalkeeper seemed excited at the prospect of once again being a part of the Indian Super League (ISL).

football Updated: Jan 09, 2018 20:31 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Super League,ISL 2017-18,Kerala Blasters
David James, the oldest-ever FIFA World Cup debutant, is now back at the helm of things at the Kerala Blasters and he is excited to start a new chapter in his footballing career.(ISL / SPORTZPICS)

David James is no stranger to the Indian Super League (ISL) or Kerala Blasters FC. The goalkeeper who has represented Premier League sides like Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham United among others, was a part of the Kochi-based side in the second season of the ISL as a player-coach.

However, the man who holds the distinction of being the oldest-ever FIFA World Cup debutant is now back at the helm of things at the Blasters and he is excited to start a new chapter in his footballing career. Speaking to journalists on the eve of his side’s match against the Delhi Dynamos in the nation’s capital, James noted that despite the hurried nature of his appointment, he knows he needs to deliver quick results.

“I need to familiarise myself with the players first, and as quickly as possible. I think we’ll need to take every game as it comes whilst also having a long-term plan for how to turn this around,” he said when quizzed by this correspondent on his goals for the season and beyond.

“A lot of my ideas will be long-term but the short term is also important because I’ve come in during the middle of the season,” he added. Given that the Blasters are currently eighth in the table, the need for a short-term turnaround is paramount should they harbor any hopes of qualifying for the play-offs. And James is confident in his team’s ability to deliver the goods.

“As a fan of the Kerala Blasters, I think the squad is a quality one. But I will need to familiarise myself with the players quickly because there could be a tendency to watch differently than as a fan. The recruitment in the beginning of the season was very good. For me as a coach and for Thangboi Singto (assistant coach), that does make things easier,” he added.

He was also full of praise for the fact that the ISL now allows clubs to sign players in January. “The best thing to happen to the ISL is the transfer window as it helps the teams immensely. It’s good to emulate other domestic leagues around the world.”

David James also revealed some new additions to their coaching staff, confirming that his one-time Portsmouth teammate Hermann Hreidarsson will be joining the side since two of the previous coaches had departed before his arrival.

Hreidarsson, who earned 89 international caps for Iceland and even skippered the national team during his later years, has a little more experience in the managerial department than James.

However, what makes this turn of events all the more interesting is that Hreidarsson has not only played alongside David James but also managed him during his one-year stint at the helm of Icelandic club IBV!

James was quick to throw in a quick “Go Pompey!” chant as well as a fist pump when he announced the news of his former team-mate and manager joining him, but he was all business when quizzed about getting the Kochi-based side back to winning ways.

“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get the results, to be honest. We have to get good results as quickly as possible.”

It’s worth noting that for his part, James showed tangible enthusiasm at the prospect of being the coach of a side that he still maintains a strong connection to. However, only time will tell if his time on the managerial hot seat will be as successful as his time between the sticks.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 20:23 IST