England goalkeeping coach gives TheFA.com the low-down on David Seaman...
Following a report in yesterday's Daily Express newspaper, The FA and Ray Clemence would like to make absolutely clear that there is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that The FA's Goalkeeping department have advised Sven-Goran Eriksson not to play David Seaman. With England goalkeepers currently a topic of hot debate, TheFA.com caught up with the England goalkeeping coach, Ray Clemence, to get the low-down from his perspective.
The first thing that Ray wants to do is clear up a suggestion made a newspaper yesterday that he had advised Sven not to pick David Seaman
"There's simply no truth in that at all," comments Clemence. "I have far too much respect for David to do that. Discussions go on all the time about goalkeeping in general but that report was a complete fabrication."
Much of the media coverage has focused on David Seaman of late and Ray does not believe that it has been overly helpful.
"I'm disappointed at some of the criticism that David is getting at the moment," says the former Liverpool and England 'keeper.
"When you have played 75 games for your country, I think you deserve respect. That does not mean you are immune to criticism and in our position we are aware that we are open to more criticism than most.
"I haven't heard anybody mention the save that David made when the scores were 2-2. They broke through and David made a vital block to prevent us from going 3-2 down but not too many people seem to be talking about that.
"I have spoken to him on a couple of occasions since then and will continue to stay in touch with him.
"David is a very strong character - as strong as I have seen in all my time in the game."
And what about the future? Aside from David Seaman, Ray is confident in the English goalkeepers we have coming up through the ranks. "People have expressed concerns about the lack of goalkeepers," he says. "But they are there.
"There is only one position as a goalkeeper. That's why patience is so crucial to goalkeeping. Sometimes you have to wait a long time to get your chance but, when it does come, you've got to take it."
Here's Ray's assessment of some of the other contenders for now and the future:
David James has been around the international side for a while now and has got more and more consistent with each year.
Since he has been at West Ham they have started to concede less goals. He is a strong character with great physical attributes.
Paul Robinson is only 22 and has made the outstanding achievement of getting into the first team at Leeds ahead of Nigel Martyn - himself an outstanding goalkeeper.
Paul is extremely accomplished with his feet, something that's very important these days because 'keepers seem to have the ball more at their feet than in their hands.
He's exceptionally quick, has a presence about him and has reflexes as quick as I have seen in any goalkeeper.
Chris Kirkland is also an excellent prospect. At the moment he is understudy to Dudek at Liverpool which is a bit of a problem for Chris because, if he is looking at pushing on to the Senior side, he will need to be playing first team football.
At 6"5 Chris has a real presence. He is very good at dealing with crosses and is an excellent shot-stopper. He also commands the people in front of him and is a very good learner who takes everything in on the training ground. He wants to get better and better.
Richard Wright is rebuilding his confidence at Everton and his form has started to return.
There are also players outside the Premiership who are progressing well.
Robert Green at Norwich is having an outstanding season and is only in his early twenties himself.
Matt Murray has forced his way into the Wolves first team this year and retained his place. He made his debut for the Under-21s away in Slovakia.
He has looked very confident and assured.
Luke Steele has gone from Peterborough to Manchester United in the last year and has also played for the England Under-19 side. He has done very well, and so have some of his peers.
It's great for England in the future that our 'keepers, almost at every level, are showing such potential.
Ray Clemence was talking to Daniel Freedman