David James talks about his interest in Women's football and wishes England well in New Zealand.
FIFA Women's U17 World Cup
12 midnight (GMT), Wednesday 29 October 2008
Wellington, New Zealand
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A veteran of 44 international caps, England goalkeeper David James believes participation in the FIFA Women's U17 and U20 World Cups will be of huge benefit to the England teams of the future.
Lois Fidler's U17 side will begin their World Cup campaign against Brazil on Thursday, whilst Mo Marley is currently preparing her charges for the U20 World Cup in Chile in November.
Having been involved in the game for over 20 years, and having travelled to four separate tournaments with England, James knows how valuable tournament football can be in the development of young players.
"If these girls eventually get the opportunity to represent England at U23 or Senior level, then [the World Cup] will be a great experience for them," he said, "especially for the U17 girls; travelling to New Zealand will be a real eye-opener."
James is also of the opinion that two competitive World Cups will help with the development not only of individual nations, but the Women's game on a global scale.
"As much as you want to win, you don't want to waltz games 5-0 or 6-0.
"In one way, it'd be nice for England to be the dominant force but for the [Women's] game to develop properly, it needs a lot of nations to grow together. That's starting to occur now - and at a younger age group as well - which is good."
The recent success of Hope Powell's Senior side also gives James cause for optimism, as the Women's game in England continues to go from strength to strength.
"The Women's  World Cup matches being shown on terrestrial television is unbelievable and to have that sort of coverage coupled with [participation in] the U17 and U20 World Cups shows that there is definite growth in that area.
So, will James be lending his support to Fidler's young side? "Oh yeah! I'm an England fan, so I'll be supporting the girls and hopefully we're going to do well."