James' Eastern Promise

As England prepare for Saturday's make-or-break World Cup qualifier against Greece on Saturday, Hammers' injured goalkeeper David James has spoken exclusively to the www.whufc.com newsletter about his desire to return to full fitness as soon as possible and prove his worth to Sven-Goran Eriksson again before next summer's finals in Japan and Korea.

The 30-year-old has been battling to recover from the knee ligament injury he sustained just seconds after appearing as a substitute in England's friendly against Holland back in August and admits he is desperate for his national team-mates to secure the win at Old Trafford that will keep his World Cup dream alive.

"I'll be at the game on Saturday, doing some TV work and generally cheering the lads on," confirms David.

"It won't be easy - a lot of people said the Albania game would be a walkover after we'd beaten Germany 5-1 but it turned out to be a tough game, and this one will be no different.

"The important thing is that the players don't fall into the trap of complacency and there is nothing to suggest that will happen. A win is a win, and that is all that matters at the end of the day.

"Once that is out of the way, we can all look forward to Japan and Korea and I will just be itching to get back to prove that I am worth a place in the squad."

David admits that the arrival of Sven-Goran Eriksson at the start of the year has breathed fresh air into the English game and pays tribute to the style of the cool Swede.

"Sven-Goran Eriksson has brought many attributes to the England team but I see the biggest differences as being the reality and the belief in the squad.

"I've spoken to many of the other players, they all said that the build-up to the Germany game was no different than any of the previous matches under Sven's charge.

"The attitude was that it is eleven men against eleven and we are better than them. There was no worrying about the history between the countries, no worrying about who would be playing for them and who wouldn't - we're happy to leave all that to the media."

David also praises club-mate Trevor Sinclair, who received a call-up to the squad after starting the season in fine form, and insists that he hasn't been called up by Sven just to make the numbers up.

"It's great for Trevor, and also great for the club. His versatility could prove valuable to the team and he is there because he deserves to be.

"Sven-Goran Eriksson doesn't include people in his squad who wouldn't be able to play a part if called upon, and Trevor is there for all the right reasons."

As for his own situation, David reveals that his rehabilitation work is progressing well.

"Everything's fantastic," he enthuses. "I visited a place called Total Fitness in Manchester last week, which is like a sports rehabilitation clinic. I stayed there from Monday until Thursday and, to be honest, I've come back a new man.

"We're just taking it step by step now and fitting the schedule in around international matches. There is another one in November and we'll take another look at where I am then.

"I'm not setting any targets - it's important not to rush these things and I won't risk my career for the sake of a few weeks.

"It's going well though and, considering I was looking at a year out when I first got injured, I'm feeling much better about the whole situation."

So is he feeling confident about enjoying a plane journey with tricky Trev to the far east next summer?

"Well, at the moment all I'm hoping for is to be enjoying a coach ride to Charlton in November, but that would be nice!"