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Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-01-24 14:32:26
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It was not hard to tell him apart from the others. Alec was very short and wore baggy shorts due to his sensitivity to cold. However, this ended up becoming his trademark, which made James cash in on it. He was quite characterized by his long shirt sleeves, too. He was a unique figure on the field. He hated wasted efforts. With the ball, he always seemed calm on the peach. According to some people, including Jimmy Hogan himself, he was a naturally gifted footballer.
Often described as being slow, however, in a short space, Alec demonstrated a very high acceleration, but it could not maintain itself over longer distances. He was not a sprinter, but he had determination in close play. His game was characterized by refined technique, stupendous tactical knowledge and a winner mentality. If anyone besides Herbert Chapman trusted Alex James more, it was Alex James himself.
He was a master of all styles, of all schools, and he managed to adapt to the inevitable. His body feint broke the opponent's mark, thus creating spaces for his advances. When he made his runs, he did not depend on his speed, however, on his calm, ball mastery and dribbling variations. It was natural — not a forced move, it's as if that left foot had been molded as naturally gifted, a blessed one.
His repertoire of dribbling and tricks was vast. With dummies, side-steps, feints and other movements, he attracted opponents; making room for advanced teammates. James' feint was equivalent to Sindelar's, with a few tricks, the act was over. The dribble was fast and accurate, the tackle was difficult to accomplish, due to the fact that James knew how to protect the ball very well.
While playing for Arsenal, James barely scored, but by his own choice. After all, his finishing had a mathematical precision, but little used, because the wizard was focused on only one thing: creating for his comrades. That said, his pass — low, medium, high, long, short —, especially the incisor, seemed to have an unique punctuality and direction. From midfield, he, who did not hesitate to launch, sent long passes of 30 to 40 meters for the scary runs of Bastin and Hulme. His left foot was magic. With just one incisive pass, the advances were already in the last third of the field, and the play was sealed.
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Bastin Lambert Hulme
Bastin Lambert Hulme
Arsenal F.C. 1930/31.
In the 'W' formation of the teams of Herbert Chapman & George Allison, James deformed the letter. David Jack or Bowden often appeared ten or fifteen meters behind the centre-forward. James, however, did not follow the same pattern, as his movement did not follow someone else's plan, but his own plan: the plan of the schemer, of the absolute strategist. It was common to see James receiving the ball from Male or Parker, for example, and starting Arsenal's plays from before the midline. He set the pace of matches with clairvoyance and a personification of the certainty of his actions in the same way as maestro José Piendibene. The game reflected his plans.