James set to surpass appearance record

Portsmouth and England goalkeeper David James is poised to surpass the Premier League appearance record on Saturday, and admits he cannot wait to make history.

The 38-year-old glove-man, who has also played in the top-flight for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham and Manchester City, is set to make his 536th Premier League appearance when Portsmouth host Manchester City at Fratton Park, overtaking present record holder Gary Speed.

And James says he will take an immense amount of pride from reaching the prestigous milestone.

"The record means a hell of a lot to me," he told The Sun. "Every time Gary Speed has pulled on a shirt in recent seasons the lads have given me a bit of stick, saying: 'You'll have to go for another game... and another one'. It's the same when Ryan Giggs plays.

"I have been there from the first Premiership game and the first live Sky game, which I think was Liverpool against Forest in 1992. I am playing in the best domestic league in the world, so if you can play in it for 15 or 16 years, that must say something."

The experienced stopper has, arguably, endured more criticism than most for his mistakes during his career - earning the moniker 'Calamity James' - but he has re-established himself since moving to the south coast to join Harry Redknapp's Pompey in August 2006, returning to the England squad as Fabio Capello's No.1

And he admits he owes a lot to to the Fratton Park outfit.

"As things stand, I have another couple of years with Portsmouth and I hope to go on as long as I can," he said. "When I signed for Pompey, I was looking at Championship options as well. Portsmouth gave me the opportunity to be in the Premier League and that's why I'm still playing for England, too."

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