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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 18, 2008

Redknapp hails evergreen cup hero James

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp believes David James can continue to excel for club and country until he turns 40.

The 37-year-old England international produced another goalkeeping masterclass to help Pompey into the FA Cup quarter-finals as they scraped a 1-0 win at Preston.

He saved a 60th-minute penalty from Simon Whaley and also denied Chris Brown and substitute Neil Mellor with two more outstanding saves before Darren Carter put through his own net in injury-time.

James has been restored in a Three Lions shirt since the arrival of Fabio Capello and has subsequently fixed his sights on being England's first-choice goalkeeper at the next World Cup.

He will be pushing 40 when the finals in South Africa come around in 2010, but Redknapp has no doubts about the 6ft 5in stopper.

'He's such a perfectionist and will be around for a long time yet,' said Redknapp.

'He's a great trainer and it's not a problem for him.

'He works non-stop on the training ground and he studies videos of his performances every afternoon.

'He's absolutely dedicated and he's in such great condition.'

Preston lie fourth bottom of the Championship but they belied their lowly status with a vibrant display and the award of the spot-kick put them on course for a notable upset.

But James' save proved the turning point and Carter compounded the misery among home supporters when he bundled the ball into his own net in the 93rd minute following a corner from Croatia midfielder Niko Kranjcar.

Redknapp - whose side are in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 - said: 'David James is different class and the lad taking the penalty must have stepped up and realised how imposing he is.

'If anyone can make a save it's going to be him because he's that good.

'In the last couple of weeks he's been in great form but he's been like that since he came to the club.

'He's been on another level - absolutely fantastic - and hopefully he can continue in that vein.'

Preston boss Alan Irvine could hardly have asked any more of his players and they were desperately unlucky not to earn at least a replay.

The former Everton assistant manager refused to point the finger at Whaley for missing the penalty - awarded after Sylvain Distin fouled Preston defender Billy Jones.

Irvine said: 'The first thing he did when he came into the dressing room was apologise.

'But I said he had need to apologise because people miss penalties.

'It's good that he feels that way but we're certainly not going to start pointing the finger.

'We've got some very important games coming up and we're not going to make him feel any worse than he already feels at the moment.'

Attention at Deepdale now switches back to avoiding relegation to League One.

Irvine said: 'To play as well as we did has got to give the players a lot of confidence.

'If we can take that second-half performance into the remaining 14 games then we'll be okay.'