‘I was England’s goalkeeper but smoked 20 cigarettes a day and drank until 3am’

David James has revealed that he "smoked 20 cigarettes a day" and "drank until 3am" during his time as England goalkeeper.

The former Three Lions international was part of England squads for three different World Cups and appeared on the biggest stage in South Africa in 2010. However, James has now admitted that he was smoking "20 fags a day" when he first trained under Peter Taylor with the national team during an appearance on Harry Redknapp's podcast.

Speaking to his former Portsmouth manager, James explained: "Peter Taylor was the first one to take me for a warm up.

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"It was weird: ‘we are going to go out for a warm up.’ He put me through my paces. I thought – ‘hang on a minute. I'm knackered.’ The fact that I smoked 20 fags a day didn’t help."

He also added: "Things change. We used to meet up in the England squad back in the early 90s and the first thing you’d do is meet the whole staff in the bar down at Burnham Beeches.

"It was like.. well done this weekend guys. We will be training tomorrow at some point. And you’d be in the bar until two or three o'clock in the morning. And that was just standard. You can imagine now. I can’t imagine Gareth Southgate saying ‘come on lads meet you in the bar’."

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As for the characters James played alongside for England, the ex-keeper continued: "The squad then.. Paul Gascoigne was part of that squad. Wrighty was part of that squad.

"We used to have The Queen Vic, which was Ince’s room. We’d go in The Queen Vic each night – drink beers – play computer games and smoke fags.

"Not everyone – but whoever wanted a drink could have a drink and whoever wanted a smoke. It was a communal space. Really, really good."

James won 53 caps for the Three Lions during his career, including three World Cup appearances at the 2010 tournament in South Africa. The round of 16 loss to Germany at that World Cup proved to be his final appearance in international football.

He was also a member of the England squad for the 2004 European Championships, playing all four matches as Sven-Goran Eriksson's side reached the quarter-finals in Portugal.


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