New Delhi: Former England goalkeeper and Kerala Blasters captain-cum-manager David James on Saturday came out in defence of the team's marquee players' performance in the ongoing Indian Super League, saying that they have not come here for "retirement holiday".
James, who spent seven years in Liverpool and was capped for England 53 times, said that the marquee signings of the ISL teams have been giving their best.
"Naturally, there are lot of expectations from the marquee signings. But they have come here at late stages of their careers. You should not expect Alessandro del Piero (Delhi Dynamos) to play like he did at the height of his career," James said ahead of his side's ISL fixture against Delhi Dynamos tomorrow.
"They (marquee players) are doing their best to the best of their abilities. They have not come for retirement holidays," said the 44-year-old shot stopper.
James also said that the ISL has been fantastic so far and it has been a great experience personally also. He said the only drawback of the league was the hectic schedule.
"It has been fantastic so far for a first-time league. It was amazing for 50,000 people turning up in Kochi for our match. Maybe, the schedule is tough as we are even playing three matches in seven days and so it is affecting on the players," he said.
"Normally you play one match in a week in other leagues and if you pick up a minor injury, you may be out for a match or so. But here, you will be out for at three matches and that affects the team," he added.
James said the quality of football in the ISL was high, considering the constraints in terms of facilities.
"The football quality in ISL is high though you cannot compare it with other top leagues in the world. Say in the EPL, the game is very fast, the facilities are top class and they have been doing that day in and day out. Here, under the given conditions, the quality is good enough," he said.
Having spent some time in India, James said from what he had gathered he felt lack of quality coaching could be the most important factor for the country's poor football profile.
"I had some interesting conversations with Sandeep Nandy (Kerala Blasters reserve goalkeeper) and he told me about how Indian players are initiated into the game. I feel that lack of quality coaching has been the most important factor for the lack of football development in the country," he said.
"So, it is good if young players come up from the ISL."