He is arguably Europe's busiest footballer, but Liechtenstein goal
Exclusive: He is arguably Europe's busiest footballer, but Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle is also highly-rated and has attracted the attentions of some of Europe's biggest clubs. He tells TheFA.com the part David James has played in his career...
Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle is looking forward to shaking hands with probable opposite number David James on Saturday and saying: "Remember me?"
Jehle, who is probably the most overworked player in Europe, was just 17 when he spent two weeks on trial with Liverpool just after the 1998 World Cup.
"It was an incredible experience - I would sit down at the training ground at Melwood and be completely overawed by the stars around me," recalls the 6ft 1ins goalkeeper.
"I remember Michael Owen because his goal against Argentina had made him very famous and David James as well. He was a massive guy and very athletic - I used to study him in training.
"He was friendly and would ask how things were but I was so nervous and quiet, I didn't speak back! It would be a surprise if he could recall me even though I remember him very well."
Jehle, now 21, made his international debut at 16 and despite having conceded more than 50 goals for his country is regarded as their best player.
Currently with Swiss league leaders Grasshoppers Zurich, he turned down approaches from Liverpool, Juventus and Crystal Palace as a teenager because he felt he was too young to live abroad.
"Terry Venables was the manager at Palace, I had a great time there but I was studying at college and felt it wasn't the right time to stay in England.
"I was living in Sevenoaks and that seemed big next to my village in Liechtenstein. When I went shopping in London, I just couldn't believe it. I went shopping but there was so much choice I walked around in a trance and didn't buy anything!
"Liverpool Football Club was an unbelievable place but for the same reasons I decided to start my career closer to home.
"Now I am older maybe I am ready to try and make it in a big country like England. I know this game is an opportunity for lots of people to see me. I don't think you can get a contract from one performance but it could put you in somebody's mind.
"I played in the Champions League with Grasshoppers but this season I have been on the bench because the club signed the Swiss number two international goalkeeper. I know I am young for a goalkeeper so I carry on working hard in training. The England game has been an incentive to keep going."
Jehle kept Spain down to just two goals when they played in Vaduz last year. But he admits facing England will be the biggest match of his career.
"When I heard we were in England's group, my mobile didn't stop ringing all day. As a goalkeeper you get nervous, I think it is harder than for an outfield player because if you make a mistake everybody knows about it.
"I always sleep well before a match but I will be telling my defenders to concentrate from the first moment. I hope they don't give free-kicks and corners away with someone like David Beckham around.
"This is a big match for me - I don't want people to only have pictures of me bending down picking the ball out of the net!"
Jehle is also interested in seeing if he will face another boy wonder, Everton's 17-year-old striker Wayne Rooney.
"To get in the England team at that age is incredible," he says. "We have all heard of Rooney, although I was an international at 16 I don't think you can compare that to Rooney because England have so many to choose from."
Peter Jehle was speaking to Joe Bernstein
LIECHTENSTEIN v ENGLAND is on Saturday March 29, Euro 2004 qualifier in Vaduz