James: My Friendship With Shaka

David James says that he has formed a close bond with Shaka Hislop - despite taking his place for the first time at the weekend.

He says the pair work well together and get on famously, despite the competition for a first team place.

"The relationship with me and Shaka was good from day one to be honest," he says, "I have helped him while he has been playing and I don't expect any less from him now.

"The way the team has to work is that, as two goalkeepers, we are part of that team, and no one ever knows what is going to happen in the next game.

"Our relationship should be as good as ever and if it is of benefit for West Ham then everyone will be happy.

"He wished me all the best before the game which is what I expected because he is a gentleman."

Now David just wants to put a run of first team games together and adds: "I am physically and mentally ready for it and there's no reason not to kick on - if I didn't think I was at that stage I wouldn't have said I was ready to play.

"My ideal now is to get on and get things going; the debut has been too long coming because of circumstances.

"But I'm very happy to have played now and I was delighted with the response of the fans which was very good indeed, but obviously I was disappointed we lost."

David says he is pleased that the threat to strike was averted before the weekend, especially as he was one of a tiny 1% majority that had voted against it.

The PFA chief Gordon Taylor criticised him - though not, apparently, his colleagues who voted the same way - for his decision but he says: "I'm delighted there will be no strike because I didn't need it and football didn't need it.

"I'm glad that sense prevailed and we can enjoy or be disappointed in our glorious game.

"I was privileged perhaps to know both sides of the story and with that I didn't think it was advisable to go on strike.

"Did I feel isolated? Yes, because 99% of the voters wanted to strike, but it is one of those things that if you believe you are right you have got to say what you have got to say.

"I wasn't trying to cause any controversy, I was just making the point that I was a footballer who was privileged to see the other side.

"But it hasn't gone ahead and everyone should be happy about that - we can just get on with enjoying the football."

Of the defeat by Tottenham, his long awaited competitive debut for the Hammers, he says: "They have had the better chances although I think if we had produced the first half form in the second we would have got something out of the game.

"For 15 or 20 minutes, though, we let them run things a little bit which gave them the momentum for the rest of the match.

"I don't know who crossed it for the goal but Poyet had a decent header and I've made the save, then it spun off the post and lifted very nicely for Les - I was on the floor by then and it was a nice bounce for him.

"I don't think we tested Neil Sullivan as much as we should have but that's the way it goes; they have hit the bar and the post three times so maybe we could have gone down by more goals.

"We have got to get up the table now. Saturday was disappointing but, without using it as an excuse, we had key players injured.

"If we can avoid that we give ourselves a better chance and we are going to have to hold ourselves together. If we win away at Sunderland, I think we will go above them.

"If you claw away the teams above you you'll end up in a nice position.

Now he is looking at his first away game for the Hammers, and he concludes: "We have to concentrate on the Sunderland game and get the away wins back up.

"That game is the next thought but ultimately I'd like to play in the World Cup finals. In order to do that I have got to perform for West Ham, which is what I intend to do."