Former England goalkeeper David James said that he learned a lot during his time as coach of the Kerala Blasters but the way it ended was "damaging." James coached the Indian Super League (ISL) side in two stints, the first in the inaugural 2014 season in which the team finished runners-up and the second in 2018. James said that the second stint was a more challenging one due to multiple factors such as the financial implications of the 2018 Kerala floods, uncertainty over the calendar for the 2018/19 season and to a lesser extent, his relationship with striker Dimitar Berbatov ending acrimoniously in the 2017/18 season.
James had dropped Berbatov for the last match of the season and the Bulgarian had later expressed his anger in an Instagram post.
"He wasn't so happy not to be involved in that last match, which is fine," James told The Guardian. "I had been in his position. It's not a nice place to be when you think you've still got one more game or one more season left in you. We coped. We got him fitter. But it was difficult. Character types, he's not the sort of guy who I would be drawn towards, although I had a lot of empathy with him.
"(Former England defender) Wes Brown was with us as well and he was amazing. They'd show Premier League games on the TV and Wes used to have a community in his bedroom of the players just watching games, night after night. Bought into it 100%. Fantastic.
"It was an interesting time. Good time in one sense, a lot of learning. But with regards to Dimitar, funnily enough I saw him last year. We played in a game in Singapore. I said hello."
James had since done punditry work in England and for the Indian broadcast of the 2018 FIFA World Cup for Sony but he is interested in getting back to coaching.
"I will be applying for jobs. I want to be a manager. I want to be back in there and give it a go," he said.
"I love doing punditry work but the pundit doesn't change anything. And I love change. I love the opportunity of being able to be successful. I can't do that as a pundit. I might come out with a line that everybody goes: Wow, that's amazing,' but it's not going to change anything. Whereas managing or being involved at any level there is an opportunity. So, yes, I am hungry again."
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