Scotland international midfielder James has spent his entire career in the Premier League, playing well over 300 games and regularly scoring vital goals.
He burst dramatically onto the scene as a teenager when he hit a last-minute equaliser in Middlesbrough’s first ever away European tie, a 1-1 draw at Banik Ostrava, on his full debut.
James was a key member of Boro’s 2003 FA Youth Cup-winning side, scoring in the 3-0 first-leg victory over Aston Villa. He was two weeks off his 20th birthday when he was named as the youngest player in Boro’s starting line-up for the 2006 UEFA Cup final against Seville in Eindhoven.
In the summer of 2007 he joined West Bromwich Albion for an initial £1.7m fee that could rise to £2.2m including add-ons. It turned out to be one of the Baggies’ best-ever bargain buys. James established himself as a regular starter and firm favourite at the Hawthorns and in 2015 he was named the club’s Player of the Year.
Although he had played for England at U17, U18, U19 and U20 levels, Darlington-born James was eligible to represent Scotland through his grandparents and since making his debut in 2008 he has won well over 40 caps.
One of the highlights of his international career so far was scoring against England in a friendly at Wembley in 2013. James retired from Professional football in August 2019.