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Shooting Stars: Alex James
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-07-24 00:19:06
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Shooting Stars | 7. Alex James
Ivan Sharpe | 03/11/1930
Alec James has been described as the best inside left of the last years. Not yet, I suggest. Not until he has stood the test of time and done as much for his club or clubs men like Clem Stephenson and William Gillespie will the football world accept this claim.
James has long way to go before, anyone can say he nas produced the team power these players generated and maintained over an extended period. But there shall be move comparisons.
Alec James is football genius, and genius goes its own way. He has reached the pinnacle by following his own inclinations. Good! The game needs more such initiative, and I am the last to discourage it.
When I have criticised James for playing a semi-half-back game, it has been because I thought he was overdoing it. And because Arsenal, with Jack also falling back, have had two inside-forwards in a similar role.
But James is one of the cleverest dribblers I have seen. The cleverest I can recall was Tom Fitchie — also of Arsenal and other clubs — although George Holley, of Sunderland, could be very funny with a ball.
Fitchie, when at last he reached the stage at which he did not worry so much whether he advanced or retreated, was the funniest thing I have ever seen in football, and I ought to know, as in those Glossop days was his shivering partner.
Fitchie was difficult to knock off the ball because of his bulk. Opponents said he resisted with his buttocks! James is a will-o'-the-wisp. Opponents can’t connect because they don’t know which way he is going.
His pet trick I have never known to fail. He raises a foot over the ball as if to kick it but kicks only air, and before the probably annoyed opponent can recover James has gone — fine football!
His running dribble is a series twists and turns that is as perplexing to one party as it is diverting to another. These dribbles are the real football, say what you will. Unfortunately, the trend is all the other way.
"Be Hanged To ’Em.”
Now, with Preston, these James dribbles ended very often with a first-class shot. Only occasionally nowadays this old marksmanship flashes out. I hope there will be more of it, then James will be the star complete.
As it is, he is generously pushing through expert passes for the other fellows — sometimes because his dribble started from that pet position too far back.
However, there are many fine lessons in the play of James. Young Britain can note that his trickery is the best football of all. "Try out your tricks and be hanged to ’em" — that is what the play of Alec James is always saying.
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