He can hold his nerves in a penalty shootout, but how will former England goalkeeper David James deal with the pressure on the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 stage? That’s what we’re wondering now the ex-Liverpool footballer has been unveiled as one of the Strictly Come Dancing contestants competing in this year’s BBC dance extravaganza.


But who exactly is David James? Here’s all you need to know...

Who is David James?

West Ham, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Portsmouth: David James has played for them all during his lengthy career as a premier league goalkeeper. In fact, over his 26-year career as a football player, James played a total of 572 top-flight matches, making him fourth on the list of all-time Premier League appearances.

He also held the record for most Premier League clean sheets (169) before this record was overtaken by Petr Cech in 2015.

Key Facts

Age: 49

Instagram: @jamo1dj

What’s David James known for? Being a former England goalkeeper

Who is David James' Strictly partner? Nadiya Bychkova 

However, before all this, James started his career at Watford in 1989, moving to Liverpool in 1992. Although he stayed with the club for seven years and received a runners-up medal in 1996's FA Cup, the goalkeeper earned the nickname “Calamity James” after several big blunders (on one occasion, he blamed a mistake on an all-night session playing Tomb Raider).

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James was also the first choice keeper for the English national side, playing in all of the team’s games at 2004's Euro campaign. He was later dropped from the team, but once again wore the number one shirt for the 2010 World Cup (where, at 39, he was the oldest player in the tournament).

David James at the 2010 World Cup
David James at the 2010 World Cup

After Liverpool, James played for a string of Premier League clubs before moving to teams such as Bristol FC, Bournemouth, Icelandic club ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and, finally, Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters in 2014, where he was sacked as player-manager and retired from the sport in 2018.

As well as football, James is a keen artist, even illustrating children's book Harry's Magic Pockets: The Circus.

What other footballers have been on Strictly?

James won’t be the first footie player to step onto the dance floor – but he’ll be hoping to do a lot better than his predecessors: the highest finish of the four footballers to compete on the show is sixth (Robbie Savage, 2018).

Other footballers to appear on the show:

  • Peter Shilton (12th in series 8)
  • John Barnes (7th in series 5)
  • Peter Schmeichel (7th in series 4)

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