Welwyn Garden City's David James excited for England football team return
PUBLISHED: 11:30 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:45 02 February 2017
© Alan Walter
Welwyn Garden City's David James says it will be an honour to pull on an England jersey again when he turns out for the national team in a brand new competition at the O2 this summer.
In partnership with Football Champions Tour, a leading sports management agency, Star Sixes will reunite the world’s greatest players in their countries’ colours to renew old rivalries with England, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Mexico, Nigeria, Denmark, Scotland and China all competing for silverware in London between July 13-16.
The competition will feature a group phase followed by knockout stages – including penalty shootouts – culminating in the Star Sixes final, when the trophy will be at stake.
England will be captained by Steven Gerrard at the 12-team tournament while Germany will be skippered by former Bayern Munich and Chelsea midfield ace Michael Ballack as over 100 star international players, including former Liverpool and Watford goalkeeper James who made 53 international appearances, go head to head.
James, who has been present at several WGC games at Herns Lane this season, said: “After playing 11-a-side for 26 years, this will be a different challenge, but pulling on an England shirt again will be fantastic, and an honour.
“With it being a six-a-side, smaller pitch format, it will give footballers who have stopped playing professionally an opportunity to show their skills, which I know are in abundance, in a competitive environment with a purpose – to try and win a competition.
“Having had around 26 years as a pro, I still kind of wake up each morning and think ‘can I still do this, can I still do that?’
“I was asked if I would be interested in getting involved, and my immediate answer was yes.”
This will not be James’ first trip to the former Millennium Dome.
He continued: “I saw Muse play at The O2 on their Drones tour and it is an amazing arena.
“The other time I visited The O2 was to play in a charity basketball match, at half-time during the English play-offs.
“The O2 lends itself naturally to the Star Sixes format and the atmosphere created by the supporters will be immense.”
England have already filled five of their allocated 10 squad places with James, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey confirmed for the event.
James said: “We’ve got a good group and we’ll be adding to it.
“The banter has already started, which is something you miss when you’re not playing.
“There’s a good spirit among the players and there’s also a lot of talent. I’m confident we’re going to win the whole thing.”
Tickets, which start at £30 for adults, can be purchased at www.theo2.co.uk/starsixes