James: Pompey boss ranks among my top two

Pompey fans. Picture: Joe Pepler

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In David James’ eyes, Harry Redknapp and Eddie Howe stand unopposed as his favourite managers.

Yet it was Pompey’s boss who brought him a sole FA Cup winners’ medal.

David James saves a penalty from Everton's former Pompey striker Yakubu during the 2008-09 season

David James saves a penalty from Everton's former Pompey striker Yakubu during the 2008-09 season

During James’ 25-year playing career, he served at Watford, Liverpool, Villa, West Ham, Manchester City, Bristol City and Bournemouth.

There were also 53 England appearances.

But of those bosses he encountered, Redknapp and Howe top the list.

James said: ‘People either like Harry or hate him but for all the managers I had, along with Eddie Howe they are the best two I ever worked for.

He handled me very, very well, he made me feel like an international player

David James

‘He handled me very, very well. He made me feel like an international player.

‘Without Harry’s involvement I’m sure those England days would have gone missing – and he was always straight with me.

‘Once a family member was terminally ill and another member of the family was getting married, so they brought the wedding forward and it was on a Friday.

‘It was August 2008 and we were playing at Everton, so I asked Harry if there was any way I could drive to Bedfordshire for the wedding, then go straight to Liverpool.

‘He said “Jamo, do what you want, just don’t let any goals in tomorrow”.

‘Well, we beat Everton 3-0 and I saved a penalty!

‘As a manager, he didn’t put any doubt in my head whether I was doing the right thing.

‘Harry knew as long as you were going to give the commitment then he would trust you.’

James also revealed how injury left him fearing he could miss the 2008 FA Cup final success over Cardiff City.

He added: ‘Leading up to the final, we played Manchester City and, at one point, while taking a goal-kick, I rubbed my calf and carried on.

‘On the Monday, the physio told me the manager wanted me to have my calf scanned.

‘But I insisted “it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it”.

‘Then Tuesday came and I wasn’t training because it was a bit sore.

‘Again they said about getting it scanned but I said “no, no, no it’s fine”.

‘On the Thursday they took me in for a scan and I had a small tear!

‘I was fuming. I was more worried about not missing the next game than about being fit for the cup final because in my head I was not going to be fit for either.

‘Harry decided I would not play any of the three games going into the final, which was a bit of an odd one.

‘I felt a little bit rusty at Wembley but was fine.’