England success depends on mentality, says James

Jason Soutar
David James
David James

Former England goalkeeper David James has said that the mentality of the squad will be the key to success at Euro 2020.

The Three Lions kick off their Euros campaign against Croatia on Sunday, enjoying home advantage in this match and for the majority of the tournament if they were to reach the final.

Speaking to Standard Sport, James has said that mentality and psychology will be crucial.

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“Definitely. I took on sports psychology back in 2000 and it completely transformed the way that I played the game, prepared for games.

“When I didn’t do what I was supposed to do then the performances weren’t at the level they should have been.

“I know Gareth [Southgate] is big into it. The backroom staff are well equipped to support players in that sense and it will, I think become the difference for England to be successful or not.”

Jordan Pickford has recently revealed that he has been seeing a psychologist this season, which has resulted in ‘calmer’ performances from the Everton ‘keeper.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Pickford has outlined some of the steps he has taken to improve his game.

“I just feel in a very good place. I began working with a psychologist at the start of the season.

“You know in football, those little one or two per cent gains — just to raise your ability on the pitch and what you can achieve — are crucial. Whether it’s nutrition, psychology, extra gym sessions. I think it helps. So why not use it?

“It’s crucial and I feel that I have kicked on this year. I feel calmer, I feel in the moment and I feel great.”

James believes that Pickford should be pushed for his position in Southgate’s squad, saying: “I like the idea that there isn’t an out and out number one, no challenger.

“As an England fan I’d be much happier and am much happier knowing that there is a definite challenge for the place, and the psychology behind it is that Gareth and his backroom staff and his team would get all the goalkeepers all the players into the right mental state to be challenging and accepting someone else and possibly taking the starting line-up.”