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A career in punditry catapulted goalkeeper David James onto the small screen

David James (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)
David James (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Goalkeeper David James, who will dance his way onto the BBC as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, won 53 caps playing for the English national side.

But it was only in his 40s that he found a second career as a TV pundit – and then as a small screen star.

The 48-year-old footballer, from Welwyn Garden City, played for teams such as Liverpool, Aston Villa and Portsmouth.

Soccer – Portsmouth Media Day – Wellington Sports Ground
David James during his time as goalkeeper for Portsmouth (Chris Ison/PA)

He ended his playing career in India as player-manager at Kerala Blasters in 2014.

James’ media career kick-started when he hosted the 2012 programme Euros’ Most Shocking Moments on the BBC alongside former Blue Peter star Richard Bacon.

The show, which counted down inspirational and ridiculous moments from 20 years of football’s European Championships, put him in the running for further TV appearances.

By the summer of 2013 he had secured himself a full-time role as a pundit for BT Sport’s coverage of the Premier League.

Soccer – 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship – Qualifying – Group One – England U21’s v Wales U21’s – iPRO Stadium
David James in 2015 (Richard Sellers/PA)

Other jobs followed including an invitation onto The Great Sport Relief Bake Off in 2016.

Alongside former prime minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, EastEnders actress Maddy Hill and comedian Jason Manford, James was challenged to impress with his kitchen skills.

His comical turn included a botched attempt at bite-sized canapes and earned him a new demographic of fans.

But James has not always made headlines for the right reasons.

In May 2014 he was declared bankrupt after debts reportedly built up following his divorce from former wife Tanya in 2005.

Later that year he placed hundreds of personal items on sale as football memorabilia, hoping to balance the books.

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