Portsmouth keeper James: Carson shouldn't have played against Croatia

Portsmouth goalkeeper David James says Aston Villa's Scott Carson should never have been selected for England's defeat to Croatia last Wednesday evening.

In his column for the Observer, James wrote: "Gianluigi Buffon made his debut as a 19-year-old in Italy's 1998 World Cup play-off qualifier against Russia and handled the pressure to keep a clean sheet for Italy to reach the finals. Scotty is a great keeper and will undoubtedly become England's No 1 in the future, but he didn't need to be put in that position, he should never have reached the Croatia game so poorly equipped in terms of experience. Scotty's potential should have been recognised when he played at Charlton last season. We knew then that he was good, so why stick him in the England under-21s when we could have blooded him in the seniors?

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"Throughout the qualifying campaign there were unfathomable decisions made concerning the balance of young talent and experience. In the end we needed our more experienced players, and when we brought them back they made the difference. Against Croatia Sol Campbell was our only experienced defender on the pitch and everyone saw the impact David Beckham had on the game in the second half.

"Age should not be the dictator of ability. To qualify for an international tournament, you need a good range of players. Even if your focus is to build a team for the future, you still need the experience of older players. Use them in the early stages of the competition to build confidence and then phase them out in favour of younger players later on, if need be. But to exclude them altogether because they're not seen as long-term is foolish."

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