David James fires back at Dimitar Berbatov after "worst wannabe coach" jibe
One of this year's strangest feuds has simmered between David James, now manager of Kerala Blasters, and Dimitar Berbatov, the veteran forward who departed the Indian club a few weeks ago.
Following that exit, Berbatov gave a frank assessment of James's coaching abilities on his Instagram account ("worst wannabe coach ever," he wrote), berating the style of play and manner in which he was used.
James, as seemed inevitable, has returned fire. Responding to Goal.com, he suggested that the Bulgarian had ulterior motives for joining the club and claimed indifference to his criticism.
"As far as Dimitar is concerned, I know why he came here," said James. "I didn't have a problem with that because I didn't recruit him. I understand how he left, that's up to him. I came in halfway through the season. We made some changes in the January transfer window."
Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown is also currently with Kerala and, conversely, James is full of praise for how the 23-cap England international has adapted to life in India.
"I love India. I love every aspect - the good, the bad, the ugly," James continued.
"When I first landed here, it was very different to what I thought it was going to be. It's important that anyone who comes to Kerala Blasters understands that, as lovely as this place is, it isn't Europe. The football side is one thing, but you have to live here as well. Wes Brown has embraced it totally."
The Blasters are part-owned by Indian cricketing deity Sachin Tendulkar, and have been in existence since 2014. They finished sixth (out of 10 teams) in last season's Super League, with a squad which - in addition to Brown and Berbatov - also includes former Football League veterans Paul Rachubka and Iain Hume.