Phil: Pick Dj

Hammers legend Phil Parkes says that the time has definitely come for David James to take over as England goalkeeper - and he thinks that David Seaman will be pondering on his international future as a result of his performance against Macedonia.

Phil, whose own international career was curtailed to just one full England appearance by the competition from Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence - despite him being the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he joined from QPR in 1979 - insists that DJ should be between the sticks next time England meet.

"I seriously think he has got to be put in there now," says Phil.

"You can't afford to give goals away like England did at any level of football and they proved it last night.

"And this was against a side that wasn't even in existence a few years ago as a country.

"We gave them two but Macedonia could easily have got a third one and then we would really have had egg on our faces today.

"It has come to a situation where I wouldn't be very surprised if David Seaman didn't do a lot of soul searching over the next weeks and months - and he might make the decision himself that it is time to get out."

Much was made of Seaman not having 'quick feet' as the first Macedonia goal sailed over his head from a corner, but Phil says:

"Unfortunately he has never had quick feet throughout his career; it has plagued him throughout and is one of his weaknesses.

"He has always had very, very good hands and great reflexes but he has got Frank Bruno feet - if Frank had had Mohammed Ali's feet he would have been world champion without doubt!

"But it is something that has been lacking and now he is getting older now it has been highlighted more, so you are going to see more of what happened last night."

Phil dismisses the challenge of Paul Robinson for David Seaman's post and adds: "It is time for David James because the only other person on the scene is Paul - and it would be very unfair to put a youngster in, although I am sure he would feel up to the challenge.

"If he made a couple of mistakes which were costly, it could almost ruin a promising career, so David James is the obvious choice with the experience.

"And, being at the bottom of the league, he has got a lot of things to do on a Saturday, so he is getting the practice in!"

Phil feels that DJ is having a good campaign despite just one clean sheet and he adds: "I saw the Charlton game and he couldn't do anything about the two goals that went in; they were just dreadful mistakes that the defence should have cleared.

"He will know if any of the goals this season are down to him but for the ones I have seen on TV and whatever he has not really done too much wrong."

Phil sees DJ as possibly claiming the coveted number one spot for a number of years to come and concludes: "He has got five or six years I would have thought unless Paul Robinson suddenly comes of age - or starts suddenly making mistakes as well.

"There are lots of permutations with injuries and all sorts of things - but you could seriously see him being there for four or six years."

Phil attended a signing session at Upton Park on Thursday which gathered together the players of 1986 who helped West Ham to achieve third place.

Each of the 18 players involved in the 1985/86 season, and former boss John Lyall, are signing a limited edition of 1,986 identical framed, numbered prints celebrating their achievements.

Phil, one of the three ever present players that year along with Mark Ward and Tony Gale, was last to finish off - as anyone who has seen his intricate signature will have guessed!

* If you would like to reserve a numbered print, priced at £375, you can call 0870 174 1986 - but please be aware that they are not available until November.