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David James: Criticism from terraces could help on Strictly Come Dancing

David James with his dance partner Nadiya Bychkova (Ray Burmiston/BBC)
David James with his dance partner Nadiya Bychkova (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

David James is hoping years of banter from the football terraces will brace him for criticism from Strictly Come Dancing judges.

The former England goalkeeper enjoyed a long career between the posts, making friends and enemies with rival supporters across the country.

James believes the baying crowds have given him a thick skin, but is apprehensive about harsh criticism meted out by the Strictly panel.

David James
David James hopes banter from fans has prepared him for Strictly judges (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

He said: “The fans, if they don’t like something, they will let you know straight away.

“You could hear everything, you kind of get used to everything. You deal with it.

“I knew I was going to get abuse. You expect that.”

James added “maybe this process can be the same”, but said that facing the Strictly judges would be “more intimate”.

The retired footballer has been practising his steps to football anthem Three Lions.

James has been listening to the Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds song Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home), sung from the terraces for decades, in preparation for his first dance.

The foxtrot has been choreographed around the England anthem by his partner Nadiya Bychkova.

He hopes that he will get a better reception from the panel of Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli, Motsi Mabuse, and Shirley Ballas.

James said: “We’ve invested a lot of time into this.

“If come dance day we do it and it still doesn’t get the kind of praise that you’re hoping for, that might be a bit tough.”

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One at 7pm on Saturday.

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