The former Liverpool player refusing to retire

Former Liverpool 'keeper David James, now 42, has announced his move to Icelandic Premier League side IBV.

They say goalkeepers reach their peak around the time that many outfield players are beginning to wane.

Some play even longer than that, the most famous of which was Peter Shilton, who was turning out for Leyton Orient at the age of 47; while Newcastle’s John Burridge became the oldest player to appear in a Premier League game at 43.

International football is no different, as Italian Dino Zoff’s World Cup success as a 40-year-old goes to prove.

And another international ‘keeper – this time an English one – is proving no less stubborn in his refusal to lay down his gloves for the last time.

When David James left Portsmouth in 2010, many assumed that would be it. But not those close to him. They knew differently, as here was a player who loved the game. A player for whom a lack of top flight football would not prevent him turning out every weekend.

His two years at Bristol City may not have been filled with success. But when you are into your fifth decade, perhaps success is measured a little differently. Sometimes, as perhaps it should be, it is enough just to play.

From there he moved to Bournemouth, where he made 19 appearances before slipping to third-choice and ending his contract by mutual consent.

And now, at 42, with enough money and smarts to kick back and relax, instead he is joining former Portsmouth teammate Herman Hreidarsson at Icelandic club IBV.

It is a role that will see the transition – however reluctant – from player to player-coach. An acceptance that regardless of how much you love the game, eventually you must reinvent yourself to remain a part of it.

In an age when some players are happy just to collect their wages, or only consider top flight football when their time there is clearly at an end, James’s on-going story is a refreshing one.

He won't last for ever, but you can’t help but hope he breaks a few more records before he does finally call it a day.

How long can James keep playing?  And as he makes the move into coaching, could he one day return to do so in England?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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