Football: Martyn says Seaman is still England's best

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The Independent Online
THE LEEDS United goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn, has spoken out in defence of his England colleague, David Seaman, insisting, that "he is still the country's number one goalkeeper".

Questions have been raised over whether the Arsenal goalkeeper is still at the top of his game. But his Leeds United counterpart believes that Seaman, currently preparing for Saturday's European Championship game with Bulgaria, remains at the peak of his powers.

Martyn, who is close to signing a new deal at Elland Road despite speculation linking him with a move to Tottenham for a reunion with George Graham, said: "The trouble when you are as good as David is if you let in a couple of goals, then someone is always going to start asking questions. But as far as I am concerned, he still sets the standard for the rest of us.

"The World Cup was a great experience but a frustrating one for me because I didn't get a chance, but you have to accept that David turned in some fine performances."

Not that Martyn has given up hope of being given another chance on the international stage. He said: "I'm 32 and no spring chicken, but you just have to wait.

"All I can do is be ready to step into the breach if and when my chance comes along. I feel in good form, but the defence in front of me at Leeds is playing so well I'm not getting the chance to prove myself. Lucas Radebe has been outstanding."

Martyn has tried to put current events at Elland Road to one side, with the departure of Graham and the speculation surrounding his successor, who is widely expected to be Leicester City's Martin O'Neill.

Martyn expects Graham to quickly stamp his mark on Tottenham Hotspur in the same way as he revived fortunes at Leeds. "He certainly improved Leeds as a team," Martyn said. "I think George felt he would have to buy to take us on to the next stage.

"He made my life much easier at Leeds with the way he sorted things out at the back - and that's the way he will do it at Spurs.

"He wants his teams to defend their penalty area, to keep the opposition outside the box and for his full-backs to force people inside and not get crosses in.

"That's the way he did it at Leeds and Arsenal, and I'm sure that's the way he will do it at Spurs.

"Only when he has got that kind of organisation into place will he give the creative players the licence to go out and play."

As for Graham's replacement at Leeds, Martyn said: "I don't know how long it will take, but we are not going to concern ourselves with that.

"Whoever comes in, we have got to respond to that and hope they will take the club on from the position it is in now."