Shilts: Foster deserves to displace James

England record appearance holder Peter Shilton has backed Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster to become his country’s No.1 – claiming David James has taken a “step back.” The Three Lions legend was impressed by the United youngster’s attitude during the recent League Cup final penalty-shootout victory against Tottenham at Wembley, while in James, Shilton has noticed a deterioration in the Pompey stopper’s form.

“I think Capello will have noticed that he seems to be able to handle the pressure. It’s early days but we do need someone in the England team who is going to be consistent," he said in a video interview with Nationwide, available to watch in's interviews section.

“He comes out in a big match atmosphere at the cup final and does the business.

"James had a really good season last year and seemed to have got rid of this thing that he makes mistakes on a regular basis.

“This season he seems to have taken a bit of a step back. So although he is our most experienced goalkeeper, you can't really put your cards totally on David. The position is still up for grabs.”

Former Leicester and Nottingham Forest glove-man Shilton, who ended his career with 1005 senior league appearances, believes Foster should consider leaving United to enhance his international prospects, but only on a short-term basis.

“I wouldn’t advise Foster to leave United permanently. It’s a great club and, if he was playing for them regularly, he would be playing top-class football every week." he said.

“From England’s point of view, you would want him to try to be playing regular Premier League football, certainly next season leading into a World Cup year. Even if it’s on loan.”

With 125 appearances, Shilton is still England’s most capped international. However, asked whether he would like to see David Beckham equal his record, he was commendably honest.

“No! I wouldn’t like it, I have to say that. But if he does, I’ll be the first to congratulate him, obviously. It would be a fantastic achievement,” he said.

“I wanted to go out with some dignity, and did it after a major tournament. But there is the possibility I could have got a lot more caps, and the nearer Beckham gets to my record, then maybe I’ll wish I had a few more.

"I wasn't too pleased when he came on for a minute against Belarus, because I felt that wasn't anything to do with tactics. I felt in the circumstances with him being the player and the position he's in, it was really giving him a cap, in a way.

“When he came on against Kazakhstan with 15 minutes to go, that was a good tactical move. England had done very exceptionally well in terms of battling so Kazakhstan were going to die physically. With his quality of passing and crosses they created a lot more chances.

“Capello recognises that David has a leadership role to play in the squad. You need people to look up to and learn from.”

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