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Beckham impresses in South Africa

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James Pearce | 14:36 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I have been at every England training session in South Africa and each one follows a familiar pattern. Players come out to train, the media film them for 15 minutes, the media are then asked to leave while the players continue to train away from prying eyes.

There is, though, one other pattern that has emerged over the past two weeks. Former England captain David Beckham is usually one of the first out of the changing rooms, striding purposefully on to the pitch, where he chats with manager Fabio Capello and warms up with the rest of the players. He then takes his leave, watching the training session a few yards back from the England coaching team.

I must confess that when I was reporting live from outside the team hotel when the England squad arrived in South Africa, I did wonder what on earth was going on when Beckham was one of the first to emerge from the bus. I just had not expected him to be so prominent, considering that he is only here as a non-playing member of the squad.

David BeckhamDavid Beckham takes part in a training session at England's Royal Bafokeng World Cup base

I was not alone in wondering what Beckham's role would be but the reason for writing this blog is to tell you all how impressed I have been by the former England captain over the past days.

Beckham does not need to be in South Africa. He could be recovering from his injury wherever he wanted. Let's face it, there is hardly a place on this planet where Beckham could not afford to go.

Ever since he resigned as England skipper in an emotional address the day after the country was knocked out of the 2006 World Cup, he must have dreamed of coming to South Africa as part of the squad. That, of course, was denied him when he snapped his Achilles tendon back in March but Capello's decision to invite him along regardless is a sign of just how much he is respected.

I have become 100% convinced that Beckham is in South Africa for all the right reasons. I am absolutely sure that he is here because he believes his presence can assist his country's World Cup campaign.

Let me tell you why. If he was here on some publicity-generating mission, then he would have tried to generate publicity. Instead, he has kept a very low profile and has not given any interviews.

Even when he went to Johannesburg to support England's 2018 World Cup bid, he refused to speak to a single journalist. He was there on a private lobbying mission (by the way, you only have to see how positively the Fifa voters react when they are in his company to realise how important he is to that campaign).

Mohamed Bin Hammam and David BeckhamBeckham meets Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam at the 2018 bidders' conference

And when a couple of England players went to an orphanage in Rustenburg, Beckham could easily have tagged along and stolen all the headlines. He decided to keep away.

Capello has been very vague when discussing Beckham's precise role with the England squad but I understand that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder has spent much of his time mentoring some of the younger players, as well as acting as an intermediary between the players and the coaching staff. He was also used as a scout before the match with the United States.

I can also tell you that Beckham has turned down all commercial work during the tournament. For example, both the BBC and ITV tried to sign him as a pundit but he chose to commit his time to the England squad instead. Beckham is not being paid a penny for being in South Africa, so you can only imagine how much more he could have earned during June and July.

I could go on but I won't, as I'm sure that some people will be quick to accuse me of being gullible and losing all journalistic sense. What I would say to them, and everybody else as well, is this: Put any cynicism and jealousy aside for a few minutes and you will probably see that Beckham is a man who is proud to be English and a man determined to do what he can to help his country. There is no evidence at all to the contrary.

Beckham's presence in South Africa might end up making little difference to England's World Cup chances but at least he is here trying to help. He is a rare breed. A sportsman who is happy to put his country first.


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  • 1. At 3:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, Brummerdickens wrote:

    People mix their views of Beckhams footballing ability with their opinion of him as a Captain and an Englishman.

    Regardless of those who criticise him on the pitch, it must be apparent to anyone he is English through and through off it. He's a true ambassador.

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  • 2. At 3:53pm on 16 Jun 2010, smegspur wrote:

    Fair play to him. As long as the players want him there then why not? He has experience of goosd and bad times with England and that could be invaluable to people like Lennon, SWP, Dawson etc, who are all there for the first time.

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  • 3. At 3:59pm on 16 Jun 2010, milesfrombeach wrote:

    I was never a fan, even after he became captain, and raised his game immeasurably. I let my opinion about what he represents cloud my judgement of the player and the man. To me he was a figurehead for all that was wrong in the modern game, whilst my views on the game pandering to the highest bidder haven't changed I did finally manage to see Beckham for what he was, an extremely talented footballer who never gave less than 100%, and not the DB7 that marketing firms various would have you believe

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  • 4. At 4:00pm on 16 Jun 2010, superbangtidy wrote:

    Beckham = LEGEND!!

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  • 5. At 4:01pm on 16 Jun 2010, Bellows11 wrote:

    Execellent blog James.

    I am a massive fan of Beckham from both a footballing and role-model perspective. The way he has conducted himself throughout his career has been wonderful to see, despite the level of provocation & jealousy that has come his way from fans, media and fellow players alike.

    He will be pivotal to England hosting the 2018 World Cup and it is refreshin (although somewhat paradoxical) that his work behind the scenes is now being highlighted. His fame will no doubt be thrown at him time and time again but people would do well to recognise how a man of fairly limited ability has achieved so much in the number one sport on the planet.

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  • 6. At 4:01pm on 16 Jun 2010, kriswith wrote:

    Perhaps he could spend time teaching some of the players how to cross a ball or take a set piece. These elements were awful on Saturday and it can't all be down to the ball.

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  • 7. At 4:09pm on 16 Jun 2010, Loftyopinion wrote:

    Beckham is an incredible ambassador for England, England football and increasingly, world football. A lot of people seem to forget he has got where he is through talent, combined with a great work ethic...... A lot of players could learn from his example.

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  • 8. At 4:17pm on 16 Jun 2010, Vincent B Rodriguez wrote:

    Beckham is a true patriot and a wholehearted footballer- A paul Dicov who can play a bit.

    I would disagree with #3 milesfrombeach "To me he was a figurehead for all that was wrong in the modern game"

    How can he be the figure head when there are people like Cashley Cole- to the best of my knowledge Beckham was happy to stay a dirty red as long as they wanted him, not chasing an extra £2.50 and bag of skittles for any club which was willing to give it him. Yes he created a brand etc but you get the feeling all he really wants to do is play football.

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  • 9. At 4:17pm on 16 Jun 2010, LABSAB9 wrote:

    I would like to ech the sentiments of comments 1 & 2

    Beckham = top bloke

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  • 10. At 4:18pm on 16 Jun 2010, jayson14 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 11. At 4:20pm on 16 Jun 2010, jayson14 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 4:23pm on 16 Jun 2010, harrischopper wrote:

    when Beckham was sent of against Argentina I really favoured the hard line of banning him from the England side for a long time and keeping him in a state of disgrace. Since then he has worked his gonads of to present a positive image and has given everything that has ben asked of him and more. fair play to the man, who has never been and never will be one of the most gifted players around. Like Keegan before him he has made the most of the relatively little he was given but unlike Keegan he has the guts to stick around when the going gets tough.

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  • 13. At 4:29pm on 16 Jun 2010, jayson14 wrote:

    England could be knocked out in the first round because the ball used in this year tournament is very bad!!!

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  • 14. At 4:35pm on 16 Jun 2010, JoC wrote:

    James, I'm sure you'll be accused by several people of being some sort of Beckham P.R. spokesman but on this occassion I think you are bang on the mark fella.

    Beckham doesn't need the money, but it's great credit to him that he's left family behind and still not cashed in on this one - although the kudos gained wont hurt his future knighthood aspirations (but we can't always be cynical). From what I've seen and read he's been a genuine help and 'supporter' of the entire team. It must boost the other players to see him backing them when he could have skulked off to the beach like all those other players who didn't make it later only to claim they paid no attention to the tournament.

    He's proved to be a team player who genuinely wants his country to do fair play to him

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  • 15. At 4:40pm on 16 Jun 2010, Crimzon wrote:

    To #1: I don't think there's much doubt about Beckham's footballing ability, he's been the best right midfielder England's had for a decade. He passed, he scored, and when he matured - he fought and tackled.

    I think the attitude to Beckham changed very much alike to the attitude towards Her Majesty the Queen. And it is a pleasant change, I think he can be a true leader of English football off-pitch when the time comes.

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  • 16. At 4:44pm on 16 Jun 2010, BLWLFC78 wrote:

    Good blog and one I certainly agree with. DB has always backed the national team 100%, especially following his sending off in France 98 which I think was the spur for him to keep giving to England. I suspect he has never quite forgiven himself for letting down the national team then so feels he always has something to prove - despite paying his dues many times over (v Greece in 2001; v Argentina in WC 2002; helping us win the Olympic bid etc)

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  • 17. At 4:59pm on 16 Jun 2010, Estesark wrote:

    Ever since he resigned as England skipper in an emotional address the day after the country was knocked out of the 2006 World Cup, he must have dreamed of coming to South Africa as part of Capello's squad.

    Did Beckham know about Capello's forthcoming appointment even before McClaren was given the job?

    All pedantry aside, it looks like he's doing a good job out there.

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  • 18. At 5:15pm on 16 Jun 2010, noffers wrote:

    Beckham - top man. And he should never have been sent off in 1998. He barely touched Simeone. In fact Simeone should have been sent off for the challenge.

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  • 19. At 5:18pm on 16 Jun 2010, GarryParkersChest wrote:

    When has he ever been different?

    David Beckham has got all the trimmings of his life due to the dedication he has put into his chosen profession.

    Take away the Hollywood lifestyle and all you'd have is a simple soul who puts everything thing he has to be the best at what he does. It's the media who portray him to be different.

    He is a role model not just for aspiring footballers but for young people on a whole.

    What he's doing in Africa is to help the country he loves in any capacity he can, Capello sees the benefits of having him there.

    I bet Gerrard's pretty glad he's there too, take some of the captain's responsibilities away from him so he can concentrate on the playing side of things.

    As a Tottenham fan I'm very glad he's there too, he may be able to pass on some advice on crossing to Aaron Lennon.

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  • 20. At 5:19pm on 16 Jun 2010, gli_azzurri wrote:

    English people in general always underestimate what experience can bring to a team. People say Beckham is this and that (on and off the pitch) but in all truth he is the best player you have ever had and he has carried that team for a decade.

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  • 21. At 5:19pm on 16 Jun 2010, FedupwithGovt wrote:

    Nice one Becks! He looks as though he is truly committed to the England cause, on and off the pitch.

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  • 22. At 5:21pm on 16 Jun 2010, RubberNutz wrote:

    I'd like to see him show Gerrard how to pick out a man from a corner kick.

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  • 23. At 5:24pm on 16 Jun 2010, Frimpong from Tooting wrote:

    Mr Pearce,

    Maybe you should be the Chief Football Writer for BBC Sports.

    What a refreshing, honest and likeable read.

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  • 24. At 5:26pm on 16 Jun 2010, NYCOWL wrote:

    I've always thought he get's a lot of unfair stick. Always worked his socks off.

    A lot of it goes back to his shrewish wife, playing him like a fiddle in his younger days.

    I like him.

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  • 25. At 5:32pm on 16 Jun 2010, foreverblue94 wrote:

    (Should be) Sir David Beckham, he is a legend and a true england fan.

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  • 26. At 5:35pm on 16 Jun 2010, berg1903 wrote:

    As a Scot looking at the England team Beckham not playing for the England team is a huge blow to the squad.Even if he didn't start every game when needed always gave that wee bit more than every one else.And just gets on with it a true pro and great role model.Has worked hard for all his riches.And cant believe people are saying limited skills he has.An asset to any team can change a game single handed .Players that do that the way he can are hard to find.Him being there can only help.He is there for the cause and fair play to him.

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  • 27. At 5:39pm on 16 Jun 2010, yoponz wrote:

    This is an excellent, Beckham is the ideal role model to kids and, as stated above, is a legend and true england fan ;)

    If he helps just a little, then it will have been worthwhile. I have heard he was very close to Theo Walcott, giving him lots of advice, and he was very much for Walcott to go the world cup.

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  • 28. At 5:39pm on 16 Jun 2010, Billy7896 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 29. At 5:40pm on 16 Jun 2010, CJH wrote:

    Good blog James.

    In my view Beckham is a legend of modern football. The spirit, passion, and sheer determination with which he has played for England in the past, and more consistently than at times he is given credit for, has more often than not been missing across England's midfield since he began to decline in recent years.
    If his presence with the squad in South Africa can help instill some of that determination and sense of responsibility with which he played whilst at his best, then he is an invaluable member of the Three Lions set up.
    And the fact that he is not seeking out media opportunities is to me not surprising at all. He is an England fan just like the rest of us, and he wants them to win the World Cup as much as we all want them to. That certainly appears to be why he is involved. And as a passionate, spirited, and proud England supporter, I am very glad that he is there.

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  • 30. At 5:45pm on 16 Jun 2010, Bernard wrote:

    The above fauning blog just about sums up everything that is wrong with English football. Beckham, an above average midfielder, a world class marketing guru, shouldn't be there. In the opening game he was standing behind Capello in the dug-out. Why? He is a distraction, nothing more. Would Sir Alf Ramsey have allowed him to sit on the bench in an unspecified role in 66?Capello has worked hard to rid the squad of the WAG factor. However, some within the FA - with the backing of the BBC - just won't rid themselves of the celebrity circus.

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  • 31. At 5:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, Do you like dogs wrote:

    Beckham is a good man (besides marrying a complete idiot). But he's about as English as a fish taco.

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  • 32. At 5:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, FortressFratton wrote:

    #10 jayson14 -
    "This is a dizaster for the world cup and that is the reason most teams couldn't score, find it hard to score from the free-kicks,the bigger teams can't beat the lower ones and the earlier the change it the better.

    Also only teams that play short passes can manage to score like Germany, spain and Brazil. The velocity of the ball is so bad that when kicked it runs than what most players are used to."


    Rubbish. The ball might not be what some players are used to, but ultimately all players are using the same ball so all suffer from the same advantages and disadvantages.

    As much as the ball is light and, therefore, some free-kicks that would normally go in might go over, you'll also get scenarios where a shot or free-kick at a nice height for a goalkeeper would now be slightly higher and sailing in the top corner. Regardless, both teams are playing with the same ball, so it's nonsense to say that Team A can't beat Team B because of the ball.

    Furthermore, your comment about German (amongst other) players suffering is clueless - this ball has been in use for 6 months in the Bundesliga, as well as the Portuguese, Swiss, and American leagues. Argentina and France (national teams) have also had competitive experience with it.

    The real problem, if any, is that because the ball is made by a particular supplier, other leagues who use match balls provided by other suppliers (such as the English leagues) have not been allowed to use it. FIFA should be ensuring play is fair by either no letting ANY leagues use the ball, or ensuring ALL leagues use the ball, so each national team enters the world cup on a level playing field.

    Back on topic - I am glad Beckham is getting praise and I truly feel he deserves it. I'd like to have seen him part of the playing squad as he offers us a plan b, should any of our many pacey right sided wingers fail to penetrate a defence, but unfortunately his injury ruled that out.

    What England needs is a decent crosser to fill the void that Beckham leaves, and so far Lennon, Walcott, SWP, and co haven't produced in that department. Glen Johnson, for Portsmouth, played fantastically well at right midfield on the few occasions he was pushed forward, and maybe he could be that alternative - it would certainly help him shake some of the criticism he gets for being defensively poor! But we don't have another right back, so he's stuck there really!

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  • 33. At 5:53pm on 16 Jun 2010, random50 wrote:

    Good blog.

    Beckham is an outstanding role model not just as a footballer, but as a man.

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  • 34. At 5:57pm on 16 Jun 2010, Garrinchas_Legs wrote:

    Excellent article. Think what you like about Beckham but deep down (way down below all his millions, ad-man driven nonsense and media fantasy) he is a genuine east london lad who loves to play football and be around football. He hasn't done himself any favours in the past by selling his soul to Adidas and other multi-national monsters but I think now people are starting to see that not only is he genuinely wanting to support the national side by doing whatever he can for no personal gain (financially or PR) but also how sorely we miss his right foot. Any rubbish spoken about the ball is embarrasing. The majority of footballers at this world cup are paid millions to do so day in day out by their clubs. They should be able to play with a tangerine if necessary. It is the same for all sides but tell me one thing.........have you seen a winger on any team who can deliver a ball like our David?!?! No, I don't think so. He may not have had pace but what use is pace without a product?

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  • 35. At 5:59pm on 16 Jun 2010, Baz wrote:

    @2 Stickman - think you'll find it's Lennon's second world cup.

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  • 36. At 6:01pm on 16 Jun 2010, dwmw111 wrote:

    If there's nothing wrong with the new World Cup ball, why is it that the best players in the world can no longer bend it over or around a wall ? I've watched a lot of the games and don't recall a single threat to score from free kicks around the box - everyone's just resorted to trying to blast it through the wall. FIFA has taken away one of the more exciting parts of the game by eliminating the threat from free kicks and if the number of goals continues to decline then they've taken a major step backwards. When the US Basketball authorities introduced a molded ( perfect ) ball it drew similar complaints and it was replaced.

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  • 37. At 6:03pm on 16 Jun 2010, Superhoopmango wrote:

    Great article.....What a pity that some of your more illustrious colleagues cannot match your skills.

    Beckham was always handicapped by the "Posh" Spice tag-along. I mean that as no disrespect to his wife, but that's how most of HIS generation of footballers will be remembered.

    Beckham pulled himself back from the precipice, after France 98, with nothing less than 100%, every time he wore the 3 Lions....Were that we had another 10 like him, we could have lifted the trophy in 2002 and 2006. Though that is not to forget him pulling out of a tackle in the Brazil half, which ultimately cost us the game in 2002.

    Good luck to the guy. His talent for swinging in a cross from anywhere on the right hand side was probably unmatched by any in his generation, and had he been fit, would have been worth his place in the squad.

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  • 38. At 6:04pm on 16 Jun 2010, Englishman_In_Japan wrote:

    Well written blog. The comments are great too. Some people seem to knock David, modern football (and even the football, too) and I understand their point of view, but feel that the blog was just about what a great bloke Beckon is, keeping his presence low-key and not financially benefiting from his trip. Someone beat me to it, but yes Becks is definitely heading for a Knighthood. And I think, he's surely earned the respect to sit wherever he likes...

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  • 39. At 6:04pm on 16 Jun 2010, Bergysdeftflicks wrote:

    Beckham is a decent chap ad was an honest, hard grafter who loved playing for England. That much said, his presence and the way that successive Managers fiddled with the team all of the time to try and find the best role for him, in my view compromised the development of the players who were shuffled all of the time to accomodate him.These are the same players who to a large degree we still wonder will be able to hack it as internationals after dozens and dozens of caps under their belts.After all of that the riddle of whether he was ever best wide or central was never solved and thus he hung around whilst the riddle of Gerrard and Lampard became part of the England teams psyche. He still lingers and lingers and with all due respect football matches are won on the pitch not off it. Its fair to say that we never won many truly big games with him on it and we wont whilst he hangs about like a limp lettuce off it. His time has been and gone. Get shot of him.

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  • 40. At 6:05pm on 16 Jun 2010, Superhoopmango wrote:

    31. At 5:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, Do you like dogs wrote:
    Beckham is a good man (besides marrying a complete idiot). But he's about as English as a fish taco.

    Hmmmm...interesting.....Where do you think he is from then???

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  • 41. At 6:13pm on 16 Jun 2010, Tea Time At Harrods wrote:

    Honourable as his presence may be,exactly who are the 'young players' he is there to mentor.With an average age of close to 30 and no Walcott like teenagers to help , it would seem he is still an unnecessary if well behaved inclusion.That said the thought of him as a pundit on the BBC hardly would add anything too but would certainly be more welcome than having a man who knows nothing about the game as exhibited by the moronic chatterings of Mick McCarthy.

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  • 42. At 6:13pm on 16 Jun 2010, The United Way wrote:

    Sir David Beckham, England and Manchester United through-and-through.

    I still feel disgusted when I think of his treatment in 1998 by the media, and the year(s) after. Brilliant for him to have the most magical moment in the Greece game, aptly at the Theatre of Dreams.

    As the chant 'round Old Trafford goes:
    "Did you cheer when Beckham scored?"

    His behaviour, despite 'fans' and media alike, when he was in his early 20s prove that the guy is absolutely fantastic.
    And let's not forget that he still has the most accurate right foot in football, end product that would mean he would walk into the England XI, and be remembered as a United great. An ambassador for England and world football to be proud of for many years to come.

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  • 43. At 6:15pm on 16 Jun 2010, Jedra wrote:

    @30 - You obviously didn't read the blog. Firstly he was asked to go by the Manager. Second, he has stayed away from publicity and simply been there as part of the back-room team. As an England fan, I am very sorry he isn't there in a playing capacity, but very glad he is there to help support the team.

    In the immediate aftermath of the Argentina sending off I was one of those people who hung an effergy of Beckham off my desk. However in the years since I have come to admire him greatly and see the dignity in which he holds himself despite the media circus around him.

    Footage of that late free-kick against Greece that got us to Japan still brings a tear to my eye and he will forever hold hero status for that one moment alone.

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  • 44. At 6:18pm on 16 Jun 2010, KeepinLevel wrote:

    The theory of playing football:

    Keep the ball and score by focusing on the opposition.

    You don't do any better than that!

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  • 45. At 6:26pm on 16 Jun 2010, nickybeit wrote:

    Is it dreamed or dreamt..
    i m confused with it... it comes in following sentence

    " he must have dreamed of coming to South Africa as part of the squad"

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  • 46. At 6:45pm on 16 Jun 2010, RichieBalboa wrote:

    Great post, you've got to love Beckham

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  • 47. At 6:46pm on 16 Jun 2010, Robert wrote:

    I agree with post 23. James Pearce for BBC Chief Sports Writer! We need a fresh approach.

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  • 48. At 6:48pm on 16 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    Love the headline

    "Beckham impresses in South Africa"

    So where was he (and his Golden generation colleagues) in France 98 / Holland & Belgium 2000 / Japan and South Korea 2002 / Portugal 2004 / Germany 2006 / Austria & switzerland 2008 ?

    That in a nutshell is England's problem. Style with insufficient substance but the good news is chaps its catching. Having seen the rest of the world after 1 round of matches, could we be heading for the worst world cup winners in history ?(Dont forget the stylish Greeks won the Euros so there is recent form) In which case, maybe this Golden generation might win the World cup, not because they are that good but because the rest have gone backwards.

    The next 4 matches are likely to be Algeria, Slovenia, Ghana, and France.

    Today's result means Spain v Brazil potentially in the 2nd rd, whichever one goes through(thats if Spain survive, Chile could be too hot for them), well whoever their quarter final opponents are, neither of the pre tournament favourites are cast iron semi finalists, so England's route to the final could be easing nicely.

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  • 49. At 6:50pm on 16 Jun 2010, flamos82 wrote:

    I have always been a Beckham fan and he has always played for pride.

    In response to one comment I don't think he does represent what is wrong with the modern game at all, and I don't think he ever has. He has spent the vast majority of his career at 2 clubs, and only left the first because the manager decided it was time. He has never jumped around from club to club ramping up his salary. I also don't think his decision to go to the USA was a choice based on cash. It was a descision based on the fact that his was being closed down by England and at the time by Real, and also of course, a choice he made for his wife and family.

    But enough of that....

    Beckham in South Africa. I agree, he is acting perfectly. He is showing willingness and working for the team, but I reckon this will be leading elsewhere.

    Beckham has never been afraid of change and looking at new options, so while he has previously ruled himself out of managment I think that he may be having a re-think. Possibly of his own volition, possibly from something Capello has said to him in private.

    Either way, I think that Beckham would make a very shrewd manager. He has the passion and fire needed, and has always had a good awareness of the game and what is going on, on the pitch. I may be jumping the gun a little, but I reckon that David Beckham is being groomed for the job of England manager.

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  • 50. At 6:56pm on 16 Jun 2010, MojacaRam - RIP Pinetop Perkins March 21 2011 wrote:

    Complete and total respect for the man. Over the past few years, one of the very few who gives 110% in an England shirt, and who, it happily appears, continues to give 110% without it.

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  • 51. At 6:57pm on 16 Jun 2010, sadiewam wrote:

    I love Beckham! Love him. In my eyes he can do no wrong. I just hope England can actually win.

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  • 52. At 7:21pm on 16 Jun 2010, IL76 wrote:

    #30 - Bernard - are you jealous by any chance? A gifted footballer, fantastic career, family man, patriotic...did you miss Englands first game? Quite frankly, I don't think you actually read the blog, which in my humble opinion was spot on in every sense.
    By the way, what do you make of the world cup football James? Has it affected the quality of football being played?

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  • 53. At 7:27pm on 16 Jun 2010, Mike Logan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 54. At 7:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, Rolf Habich wrote:

    If I am not totally misled by media coverage both English and continental, Beckham seems to be an amiable guy and good sportsman.

    But he is certainly one of the most overrated players of the last two decades.

    Very sweet for Asian teenies but mediocre on the pitch.

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  • 55. At 7:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, Geordie2004 wrote:

    Well said.

    However, was there really any need to provide hyperlinks to both the BBC and ITV website home pages in your blog? :S I'm sure virtually all of us know both organisations quite well by now...

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  • 56. At 8:02pm on 16 Jun 2010, IL76 wrote:

    #54 - Gerrie0
    Sorry, totally disagree. Can you name a player who can pass better than Beckham, and I mean a variety if distances not just through balls, who has played in the last 2 decades? What gets me is that all the couch potato pundits seem to think their better than the pro's. Are you honestly suggesting that Sir Alex Ferguson et al got it wrong when they selected him to play for their team? Beckham has been chosen time and again to do a job for his team, and done it nearly every time (possibly not in 98...12 years ago by the way) with dedication and professionalism.

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  • 57. At 8:07pm on 16 Jun 2010, Modfather64 wrote:

    Having watched the majority of games it is noticeable that the teams ALL sing their respective national anthems. WHY do the England team not sing to our national anthem?? Are they embarrassed? don't know the words? or not really a team, but a collection of individuals who care more about themselves and their image than their country and team?? Come on ENGLAND be proud and sing like you mean it, who knows, it may even make you play like you mean it, with some passion!!

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  • 58. At 8:36pm on 16 Jun 2010, Mickcray1 wrote:

    I was never one for beck ham but the way he conducts himself now and wants to be there for the younger players is something I will show to my kids and believe he should be an England manager and would love him to win the world cup for us one day I still believe COME ON ENGLAND

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  • 59. At 8:41pm on 16 Jun 2010, Calum McRae wrote:

    As a Scot I am really impressed with the team spirit of teh England squad, especialy seeing David Bekham there too..... Our Scottish footballers dont even turn up for squad meetings, so fair play to Beckham and to England! Becks sets and example of club AND country... let lesser footballing mortals take note and live by that thread

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  • 60. At 8:44pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    It would be far too easy to rip apart the ignorant arguments of the beckham fanbase, we even had one calling beckham our "greatest ever player". Utterly absurd. But what i DO find irritating is the baseless accusation made again here that if you dont agree with Beckham being fanous for being famous and him continuing to hog the limelight then that makes you automatically "jealous". That accusation really is the last refuge of the scoundral and its been trotted out again, sigh.

    For me its quite simple. Beckham, as a footballer, had 5 tournament chances to justify his massively overblown hype and failed comprehensively to do so. If we take his 98 disgrace as a starting point, he was poor in Euro2000, very poor bar one toe-poked penalty in 2002, bewilderingly poor in Euro2004 and was exposed once again in 2006 at the first sign of decent opposition.

    This was NOT a world class footballer. This was NOT a man capable of impacting the biggest games of his time. This was a hard trier who did very well out of limited ability and a marketable image. No more, no less.

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  • 61. At 8:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, vm2410 wrote:

    How can anyone say he was/is mediocre?

    David Beckham still has the highest goal assist/game ratio in the Premier League. He was the Premier League leader in assists from 1997 through to 2001. With his powerful right foot he was not only a great long range shooter and dead ball striker but also a great playmaker and the finest of his generation (English).

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  • 62. At 8:56pm on 16 Jun 2010, Prongs wrote:

    Here is the trend here. Half the world loves and respects beckham, while the remaining lot call him an average footballer. Obviously the fan-bois are high as well. For one thing, he wasn't the best English footballer of the last decade or the greatest passer of the last decade, that should be naturally Paul Scholes. Although, it'd be very hard to find one footballer in the entire English team who gives the commitment which Beckham gives over the last few years throughout the getting dumped from Euro 2004 till now.

    What Beckham was, will always be perceived in wide ways as a footballer. It is very hard for the non-united fans to actually call him a world class footballer, although most of them who aren't connected to the rivals would obviously acknowledge what he's achieved throughout his time at United or his comeback season at Madrid.

    He may have taken a bad route in the middle to just care about money and may rightfully be responsible for a lot of bad things in football, but that said, his love for football is second to none and doesn't remotely look phoney.

    I seriously don't think he'll get a knighthood for just his playing career or ambassador work. He'd have to be a coach and all that for that which I don't think he's cut out for. He'll probably spend his life being the ambassador for all sorts from Unicef to fifa to United and he'll be bloody good at it as he has a very respectable knowledge of the game and is a very good human being.

    Good luck to Becks for his future.

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  • 63. At 8:59pm on 16 Jun 2010, yamyam88 wrote:

    31 - do you like dogs

    If Beckham's not English, where is he from then? USA i suppose. ha! dream on. born and raised. Why are dome of these Americans all of a sudden so anti English? You wish you had a sportsman so committed to his country.

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  • 64. At 9:00pm on 16 Jun 2010, Prongs wrote:

    "This was NOT a world class footballer. This was NOT a man capable of impacting the biggest games of his time. This was a hard trier who did very well out of limited ability and a marketable image. No more, no less."

    Barring Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, England didn't have a world class footballer then who had a great time in any one of those tournaments.

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  • 65. At 9:17pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Alan Hansen gave a reasoned evaluation of Beckham earliar this year, its probably worth reading again.

    "Beckham has never been one of the best footballers in the world, but he is almost certainly the most high-profile the game has seen.

    When I was in Japan for the World Cup in 2002, if you asked somebody whether they spoke English, they usually only knew one word: 'Beckham.' His global recognition is unsurpassed, but in purely football terms, I don't believe he would be one of United or England's top 10 players.

    Sure, he played a big role in helping United win trophies, but he was among great players. He doesn't compare to the likes of Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and Paul Scholes. They were the main men.

    When Beckham left United in 2003, they replaced him with Cristiano Ronaldo and when you compare the impact made by the pair of them at Old Trafford, Beckham pales into insignificance. Quite simply, Ronaldo won titles and other trophies for United. Beckham was merely part of a great team that won trophies."

    Sir Alec Ferguson himself who Beckham calls his "father figure" had him nowhere near his list of elite players hes had under him in his time at Old Trafford. Genuine Football scholars see beyond celebrity and rate Beckham for what he was, a limited player who could for a time get by as part of a top United side as a lesser partner but was soon exposed by his mid 20s and Fergie got rid at the right time. Beckham then achieved very little in the rest of his career and endured a barren 4 year spell in spain. A player totally incapable of being an individual force on the world stage in world cups and European championships as was comprehensively proven not once, not twice but five times. Case closed.

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  • 66. At 9:37pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    True PRONGS although the likes of Butt in 02 and Hargreaves in 06 had fine tournaments. Thing is, it was all set up around the myth of Beckham, especially under Eriksson. No one and certainly not Beckham himself did anything to dampen this misplaced hype of a player who patently wasnt anywhere near as influential as his reputation claimed. He was even handed roles he had no right to due to his celebrity. Captain, penalty taker after 2002, he was suited to neither and proved it to our cost in 3 events. His unjustified influence even came to bare on when and where he played, he even vetoed Erikssons decision to play him in a right back role in the 06 WC and infamously devised himself a "quarterback" role v N ireland in a qualifier to disastrous results. He personally demanded the WAGs presence in 06 and revelled in the "leader of the pack" role. He above all others then had the obligation to justify his billing and personal indulgences. He failed, woefully, to do so.

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  • 67. At 9:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, vm2410 wrote:

    David Beckham was scouted by United while in London as an 11/12 year old!

    On the basis of statistics, David Beckham stats are in some ways comparably better than Scholes since 1996/97 season - certainly in his goal creation. Scholes has scored a few more goals some seasons but not all.
    David received his England call-up before any of the United English midfielders. He was ahead of Scholes as an England international.

    David Beckham as stated still has the Premier League record in the highest average in assists per game.
    I think some people should look at his atats compared to the other United players mentioned before posting!

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  • 68. At 9:57pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    With his powerful right foot he was not only a great long range shooter and dead ball striker
    Never proven with England. From 15 years and 100 plus caps, can you give me even 5 examples of a "great long range shot" that hurt an opposition from open play? 2 examples?

    As for the dead ball strike. Beckham attempted goal on numerous occassions in those 15 years against all level of opposition. The list of nations he managed to get a kick past in all that time? Greece, Liechenstein, colombia and ecudor. Lamentably negligible return. Never once scored v a first tier nation.

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  • 69. At 10:03pm on 16 Jun 2010, laughingdevil wrote:

    First off this was one of the best articles I've read in ages. I don't think you're gullible or loosing journalistic sense, it's nice to see a reporter not jumping on a bandwagon and saying he's affecting our chances etc etc.

    On Beckham the man I think there are a lot of players in the Squad who I wish were even 1/2 as dedicated as he is. He's flown half way round the world for international friendlies and hasn't even played yet never moaned. Unlike some members of the squad who thought the bench was beneath them and were until recently retired! It's not just him though there are plenty who don't seem to give their all for England where as with Beckham you never doubted he was doing his best.

    Which leads me onto Beckham the player, many in the media said he shouldn't have gone even if fit, that is best is simply no longer good enough, in some cases saying it never was. I completly disagree. Our first game agaisnt the US showed that we still are missing someone who can deliver a killer cross, and he may now be slow, but Beckham can still deliver THE perfect ball into the box, and that is his job as a right midfielder and even though he's past his peak I don't think there is an Englishman who is better than him at it even now.

    I'm also glad he didn't take any punditry work, I'm not knocking him but I don't think he'd be a good one, unfortunatly the BBC and ITV are full to the brim of ex and current players who are also not good pundits.

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  • 70. At 10:08pm on 16 Jun 2010, ilokid wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 71. At 10:14pm on 16 Jun 2010, Prongs wrote:

    Marsman, the wags are just family. The term "wags" is used by the media just so that they can use it as a way to slate the team when they mess up. Thats how its been done and thats how it'll be done.

    I am not going to be blaming Beckham for wanting the families and kids when they played it. I mean, I wouldn't do it if It was me, but that is just me.

    As to the penalty taker - He always did a job. Sometimes you wonder why certain players take penalties for your club/country in spite of knowing that they are pretty awful in that. Beckham never was awful, but he wasn't an out and out converter like a Shearer or a Tissier was. But hey, the English squad always had its weakness. They always overhyped just before the tournament, some good happens, and every one thinks it's their time, and then the reality comes crashing down. Although I think prior to the Rooney's metatarsal, that particular squad was the best squad of England in the last 15 odd years. It had everything ever since, plenty of things changed consistently. I can look at Beckham and think, he hasn't done much for England over the last 4 major tournaments. But I can look at Gerrard and Lampard and say the very same.

    "Sir Alec Ferguson himself who Beckham calls his "father figure" had him nowhere near his list of elite players hes had under him in his time at Old Trafford. Genuine Football scholars see beyond celebrity and rate Beckham for what he was, a limited player who could for a time get by as part of a top United side as a lesser partner but was soon exposed by his mid 20s and Fergie got rid at the right time. Beckham then achieved very little in the rest of his career and endured a barren 4 year spell in spain. A player totally incapable of being an individual force on the world stage in world cups and European championships as was comprehensively proven not once, not twice but five times"

    That is extremely harsh. You are looking at it with a lot of bitterness and probably are blaming beckham for everything that happened ever since.

    I for one disagree that we sold Beckham at the time when he was past it. Au Contraire, he was bloody brilliant in that very season and had a major say in our title winning.

    He could have won so many things with Madrid. He's won a couple of El Classicos single handedly during the 2006 season and if not for Carlos Quieros, that Madrid team could have won the league long time ago.

    No body claims Beckham to be a footballing genius. You can't exactly hope every footballer who became a legend to be a naturally gifted one. Beckham worked from day one and perfected a lot of aspects of kicking a ball. Consistently he was berated for a lot of other things apart from kicking the ball, and he has come out on top by doing things apart from just scoring from freekicks and delivering the right ball. While he grew older, he lost his pace and ended up being more defensive minded. That was when the whole RB saga came around. I guess it was a big gamble which never paid off. He was just so willing to be part of the team no matter where, the same can be said about Darren Fletcher at Right back or Michael Carrick in Center back this season.

    Beckham applied himself very well and was absolutely unlucky in not winning the World Player of the year at the end of last decade. He was very influential in United winning the treble, and he never just had one great season and mediocre seasons for us. He was consistently good and always was good against better teams.

    But of course, I wouldn't go on and call him the greatest or anything because even for United, we had genuinely talented world class players in Giggs and Scholes who were just extremely good at what they did and were absolute geniuses. Becks though wouldn't just be a water carrier in my book, but a good player who could change games if used rightly. Maybe not world class, but not a mediocre player by no means.


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  • 72. At 10:19pm on 16 Jun 2010, vm2410 wrote:

    He scored great long range shots as a United and Madrid player.

    From open play for England his goals were all from the midfield and I am thinking of Finland, Macedonia and Wales et al. All great goals/volley from what I recall at the moment.
    I think England have scored 16 goals in goals 12 FIFA World Cup games since 1998, his first World Cup. David Beckham scored 3 of those goals (two of them match winners and the only goals of the games) and he has provided seven assists in those games.
    He did score against Argentina and it was a Match-winner.
    Against Ecuador it was a knock-out game and it was a match-winner that took them to the qfinals, so what if it was not against a so-called 'first tier nation'?

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  • 73. At 10:26pm on 16 Jun 2010, buymespresso wrote:

    Thanks for the article. I liked it.

    There's a point where making more money is unnecessary. Too often celebrities (including footballers) forget that. I'm glad not all do. Good for David. I think he enjoys the mentoring role more than anything else.

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  • 74. At 10:39pm on 16 Jun 2010, Seantib wrote:

    I'm not a patriot but I have lot of respect for David. A great player, a successful businessman, a good husband and father and seems like a nice man too! I think England are very lucky to have such a great ambassador working for them in such an unselfish manner, well done David!

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  • 75. At 10:43pm on 16 Jun 2010, jsadighi wrote:

    "when Beckham was sent of against Argentina I really favoured the hard line of banning him from the England side for a long time and keeping him in a state of disgrace."

    Speaking of things that are wrong with the sport...

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  • 76. At 10:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, jsadighi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 11:10pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Beckham scored 3 set-play goals, 1 of which was a penalty from 5 entire major tournaments. He never scored from the field of play. That is an extremely mediocre record at best. From 115 caps youve given me 3 3rd world footballing countries he managed to find the net against. Ill give you another stat. Beckham started playing for england at wembley in 1996. 15 years later we are still awaiting his maiden strike at the home of english football despite him being an attacking player with a supposed "good shot on him" and being the taker of every free-kick ever won around the box. Its a monumentally embarassing record and very demonstrative of a player who got nowhere near justifying his farcically overblown billing.

    Beckham as a player always looked hopelessly out his depth as soon as he got to a quarter-final. Against serious opposition he faded and was a pygmy when he nad his fans hyped him to be a giant. No amount of spin and celebrity guff will save him from the ultimate condemnation of true scholarly football judgement.

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  • 78. At 11:13pm on 16 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:

    To post no.77 - from 2000-2007 we didn't have a Wembley to play at. He wasnt a regular in the England team until 1998, so only had under 2 years at the Old Wembley, and Mclaren dropped him when the new Wembley came. So that stat isn't half as bad as you make it out to be.

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  • 79. At 11:31pm on 16 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:

    David Beckham splits opinion like no one else does. Personally I've always been a fan - a player who always gives 100% for England which is more than can be said for some of them. I disagree with what someone said earlier, about him being the best player we've ever had - but he's certainly one of them, and up there in terms of his passion and pride in playing for his country.

    Some people will just always dislike him. Never mind the number of goals he has both scored and assisted, never mind he has 100+ caps for his country, never mind he has played for 3 of the biggest and best clubs in world football. Nah, he's just mediokre isnt he?

    His delivery, for me, is still the best in the world. Show me a player that can deliver balls into the box as well as he can, as accurately as he can. For that reason alone he is an asset to England, a refreshing change to the all-pace, no-product wingers we have now. I remember when Becks was dropped by Wally with a Brolly and our 2008 qualifying campaign was poor. Eventually Mclaren recalled him and he assisted in his first game back in a friendly against Brazil. In qualifiers he then set up a Michael Owen goal away at some European country (can't remeber now) before the game against Croatia in which he set up Crouch's equaliser with a ball that, quite frankly, no one else on that pitch could have delivered. Now to his record on tournaments...

    I'm not gonna disagree with the people that have said he has underachieved. He has, but hasn't everyone else? Your Lampards, Gerrards, Ferdinands - none of them have done anything either in major tournaments. If you take a closer look at Beckham's record in World Cups, he hasnt actually done that badly.

    1998 - We all know what happened in the end, but after missing out the first 2 group games he returned to score that free kick against Colombia. I can't disguise this tournament wasn't successful for him though. I still maintain he didnt deserve to be sent off and the media were massively harsh on him. It was only a little flick and no one said anything about Simeone, yet in 2006 it was all Ronaldo's fault and not Rooney for stamping on Carvalho's crown jewells.

    2002 - Went into the tournament half injured but still had a good'un in my opinion. He set up our only goal in the opening draw with Sweden, scored the winner against Argentina, and then set up two out of the three goals in the win over Denmark.

    2006 - Our 1-0 win over Paraguay came courtesy of another Beckham free kick, he then set up Peter Crouch for a relatively late goal against Trinidad & Tobago after it looked like we weren't going to win. In the second round game he also scored the winner against Ecuador. We scored 6 goals in the tournament, he scored 1 and set up 2, therefore involved in half of them.

    What I also like about him is his dedication. After finishing an MLS season, he went to Milan for 5 months, away from his wife and children, staying alone in a hotel, just to try and get in the squad, half-knowing he probably wasnt going to start anymore. He then did the same the following season but it was cut short because of the injury. I highly doubt most England players would have done this - half of them never even seem bothered.

    **On Alan Hansen's article**

    It's a bit unfair to compare Beckham with Ronaldo. Anyone pales into insignificance compared to him with the exception of very few. Just think back to how many Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke goals came from Becks, or Ruud Van Nistelrooy. SAF only sold him because of his personal life and all the non-footballing activities.

    Very good article and it's actually quite refreshing to see a journalist write positively about Beckham for a change.

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  • 80. At 11:52pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    HERVEY, beckham was a regular from 96 so hed had 5 years at wembley before it was knocked down and another 3 since, he was last seen unsuccessfully trying to get one of his ludicrously overrated free-kick attempts past the sunday league standard keeper of Andorra.

    The goals hes scored? 17 in 115 games, a poorer ratio than almost any england midfielder. And when you consider he got take every free-kick ever won, attempting goal on numerous occassions and was designated penalty taker for several tears, Christ its nothing less than risible.

    I also remember the Croatia game under Mcclaren but unlike you, i noticed a player brainlessly handing the ball back to the opposition who then pounced to score their winner and put england out of euro2008. Factually Mcclarens side had a better record without beckham playing than with him playing and the run of 3-0 wins v Russia and others sett he blueprint for the way a new england needed to play and Capello continued that style for this qualifying campaign. Mentioning Croatia, we won both games spectaculry, 4-1 away and 5-1 at home. Key player in both wins was our right winger, both Walcott in Zagreb and Lennon at wembley had games of a contribution never matched by Beckham in his entire career.

    2002- Beckham disappeared without trace v Brazil and gutlessly jumped higher than ive ever seen a player jmp before to avoid a tackle which cost us a game-changing goal. Beckham was left wanting in the 2nd half and demonstarted he had no leader of men qualities whatsoever.

    2006-how telling that you avoid the only 2 professional standard sides we came up against in that event. Against Sweden then Portugal, Beckham was again hopelessly exposed as a non-entity and when Lennon replaced him in the quarter-final, he proved more of a threat in 30 seconds than beckham had in his 60 minutes and set up a great chance for Rooney which nearly won us the game.

    Your comparisons? Lampard was excellent in 2004, Beckham was absolutely horrific and was the clown of the whole event. This when he should have been at his peak, at 29 and in his 4th tournament. Ferdinand was excellent in 2002 but when youre attempting to compare an attacking player who had the added luxury of having every single set-play at his disposal to register a contribution and was penalty taker for some years then it goes to show what degrees one has to go to to defend Beckhams vacuous record.

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  • 81. At 11:54pm on 16 Jun 2010, KevinG wrote:

    Beckham is a modern day English legend. He grew up in the spotlight at Man U, but now we are seeing the best of him. I just wish he was able to play a part in England's WC campaign. no one delivers balls into the box like David can.

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  • 82. At 11:55pm on 16 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    compare an attacking player with a defender*

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  • 83. At 00:36am on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Beckham is a modern day English legend.
    He certainly is modern day in that he represents the value of celebrity, spin and image over genuine content. No real achievement of any weight whatsoever in 5 international tournaments, never once dominated a match against a big football nation, always looked like a child hopelessly out his depth in a mans world whenever a true foe came into focus. A player who couldnt quite match what the south korean and Turkish players did in their careers and look threatening in a tournament last 8 game. They must be like Gods to Beckham. A guy who can be labelled the worlds "most famous" at what he does while not being in the same stratosphere let alone the same league as his arts finest exponents of his era or any other. A Hello mag hero, genuinely a guy and a figure for our culture and our times. On that, i cant and wont disagree.

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  • 84. At 00:48am on 17 Jun 2010, showUsYerHands wrote:

    Good, patriotic bloke is Beckham. A rare bread indeed for high-profile sportsmen.

    Long may he reign I say!

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  • 85. At 01:11am on 17 Jun 2010, Pete Shorrock wrote:

    Beckham is pure class... although I would add that he is advised very well and by the very best.

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  • 86. At 01:17am on 17 Jun 2010, Pete Shorrock wrote:

    @74 *Rebecca Loos* Everyone makes mistakes though.

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  • 87. At 01:17am on 17 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:


    This is exactly what I meant when I said some people will always dislike him. You completely disregarded everything positive, and focused mainly on him jumping out of a tackle in 2002 and the clearance against Croatia in the 2008 qualifiers. Please tell me you’re not blaming him for that? I’ve just seen it again and he has his back to goal, under pressure from a Croatian player so he hoofs it up field. What exactly would you expect someone to do in that situation? Late in the game and you cant afford to concede, and you have your back to goal? It’s just unfortunate that they went and scored, it was hardly a “brainless handing the ball back”. The number of assists and goals I listed are facts - he’s never had a tournament where he hasn’t made an impact. In 2002 he scored one and assisted three, yet you talk about one jumping out of a tackle. In 2006 he scored one and assisted two.

    “Lampard was excellent in 2004”

    Lampard’s record in 2004, if I’m not wrong, was 3 goals, no assists. So, like Beckham in 2006, he was involved in 3 goals. (Incidentally, his goal against France came from a Beckham free kick)This is classed as excellent, but Beckham’s isn’t? Where was Lampard in 2006? Probably our worst player.

    “both Walcott in Zagreb and Lennon at Wembley had games of a contribution never matched by Beckham in his entire career”

    Walcott did score a hat trick in Croatia, and its been his only recognisable contribution to the England team. That’s it - that hat trick gave him a platform to build on and he’s failed. Aaron Lennon won a penalty at Wembley and set up another, does 2 assists really equal a contribution never matched by Beckham in his entire career?

    Once again, your argument regarding 2002 focused on one single moment, not the fact that he got us there in the first place with that free kick against Greece, had already assisted 3 and scored one. That tackle he jumped out of was partly because he was injured, and also it was deep in Brazil’s half. There was considerable time between him skipping the challenge and Brazil scoring.

    2006 - The reason I didn’t mention Sweden or Portugal was because I was simply listing his goals and assists, and he didn’t get any goals or assists in these 2 games. You say he was hopelessly exposed as a non-entity. I just wonder why you single out Beckham for his performance? England as a whole massively under achieve, particularly against the better teams. If not managing an assist or a goal in two games is proving himself to be a non-entity then I guess you have a point, but I disagree. You’re making out he isn’t a big game player - is that why he’s played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan? No big games associated with those 3 teams are there? Granted his latest stint at Milan wasn’t his best, other than that I think he can say he’s done very well at all 3 clubs.

    I actually agree with you about Ferdinand in 2002, he was solid. I wasn’t comparing Ferdinand and Beckham as attacking outlets and who scored the most. My point was plain and simple - as a group of players, England underachieve tournament after tournament. I personally feel Beckham was a bit better than most in these tournaments, for reasons I’ve already stated.

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  • 88. At 01:48am on 17 Jun 2010, nik wrote:

    Beckham is an icon. What he's doing in SA is exactly what he should be doing - showing his support for England, genuine, and from the heart. Pure class.

    His great ability for the English team is to keep the frenetic English media at bay. You just know that he'll protect the English players if it gets too crazy. He can also offer advice, though, hopefully, not on penalty taking ;)

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  • 89. At 01:55am on 17 Jun 2010, Lord_Cat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 06:33am on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Aaron Lennon won a penalty at Wembley and set up another, does 2 assists really equal a contribution never matched by Beckham in his entire career?
    in a single match for england. Yes. Dont forget Lennon won that game from open play alone. Beckham was the only player who ever got to disappear for 90 minutes yet have the added luxury of several corners and free-kicks in a match, if anything came loosely from any of them, he had a "contribution". In that context, Beckhams assist and goalscoring record is nothing to shout about in the slightest.

    Yes im blaming him for that cowardly avoidance of that tackle because it didnt happen by mistake, it summed up everything beckham was at that point. Beckham, having been serenaded like a mythical God by the footballing naive but western celebrity adoring Japanese, believed his life and football was about nothing but easy success and pretty pictures painted on penny drop lane. Getting stuck in where it hurt? Wasnt in his thinking. Ronaldo claimed that when he swapped shirts with beckham at the end of that match, beckhams shirt smelt not of blood, sweat and tears but of "perfume". It wasnt just the tackle, it was the complete failure to provide any sort of service to our front line which was billed as his job. And end this myth, he didnt "get us there". Yes he scored an equaliser in one game. Owens hat-trick in Germany had also helped get us there as with other wins and if Beckham hadnt have finally got his 8th attempt on target that day on his own ground in his "greatest ever game", England would merely have had to dispose of ukraine in a play-off which is exactly what Germany did.

    As for Crotia 07, he played that ball blind and attempted a "hollywood" ball always childishly trying to be the Hero of the hour. He could have relieved pressure by putting it in row z and letting ourn defence regain its shape or made sure we kept posession by finding a teamate. And what gets me about this is that his fans now justify his place in the squad on the basis that hes a "master ball keeper" who can help "keep posession" late in games. He certainly didnt that night when it mattered, thats for sure.

    We disagree what making an impact means. I mean impacting a tournament like the great players do, truly making your mark, dominating and influencing games. Dictating matches against the very best nations of your time and proving your worth. If you think the odd dead ball assist v a Trinidad and Tobago or the odd goal v Ecuador equates to this then we`re on different hemispheres of thought. And for pity sake, he was the SOLE taker of ALL our set-plays, all the corners, all the free-kicks yet you tout a few assits as an "impact". Players like Lampard had to deliver without all those added luxuries and chances. Name me a set-play taker who didnt have that kind of marginal impact for england or any other major country in early group games against mediocre opposition.

    2006, Joe Cole was excellent v Sweden, scored a goal that would have gone down in "legend" as beckhams "best ever" had he ever scored such a strike. So was Gerrard. Hargreaves amongst others was excellent v Portugal. Not every player sunk without trace as soon as they came up against anything resembling true opposition ala Beckham.

    Sorry but Beckhams record after leaving United was poor. He went to the 2002 Kings of Europe and instantly turned them into european no hopers for the 4 years he was there. Beckham himself was embarrassingly outclassed when he returned to Britain and faced Arsenals kids in a two-leg CL tie. The guy was impotent. Even in his one billed successful season where his friends and the Brit beckham obsessed media tried to spin a Madrid title win as a "beckham wot won it" trophy, it was nothing of the sort. Madrid had long since recovered their form when he came back into the side for the latter part of the season and of Rudd Van Nistelrooys 25 league winning goals, Beckham assisted precisely 0. At Milan hes had little impact, going out early in europe in both seasons and i believe didnt score or directly assist once in this years spell.

    I dont remotely accept he was one of the better players. He as i stated had a huge advantage if we`re talking in individual terms due to having the extra opportunities of every set-play ever got to artificially add to his contributions which you and his fans bring up but even with this he still somehow managed to disappear almost completely and uniquely when faced with heavyweight opposition. While the likes of Owen certainly and others proved they had it in them to hurt and threaten the best even if england couldnt collectively then Beckham despite numerous chances comprehensively proved he couldnt. Tears sat on that bench in Germany were, for me, a fitting and justified finale of a tournament career that was hopelessly misplaced in its delusions of high relevance. Even if you or his fans kept blindly believing, at that point, the Football Gods themselves handed down their judgement and it was total.

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  • 91. At 07:36am on 17 Jun 2010, Mr3enn wrote:

    Beckham seemed to help with morale in his Afghanistan visit. He wore a squaddie's Newcastle United shirt for a photo. What's not to like?

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  • 92. At 07:49am on 17 Jun 2010, David wrote:

    I think he is just an amazing man and i can see why he helps with the morale of the team. beautiful aswell.

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  • 93. At 07:57am on 17 Jun 2010, riggy wrote:

    Well finally something positive about our David.

    He is an absolute pro and we'd have it no other way.

    I'm happy to hear he's keeping the media at arms length as anyone doesn't need such pathetic and useless childlike questions being put to them.

    I will not entirely praise the article due to the end being patronising and with an attitude of superiorism towards its readers.

    I'd personally keep the media out of the picture as much as possible throughout the WC tournament, we don't need our lads or team staff or fans being asked silly, rude, pointless, critising questions....simply no point.

    I'd have the media at least 5 metres away from any member whenever the media are together asking questions. I'd make sure they're warned about their questions and have solicitors and legal people on hand to keep the media at bay. If they were to break the rules they'd be excluded from any question time for the duration of the tournament.

    British media need to restrained.

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  • 94. At 08:18am on 17 Jun 2010, trickydicky wrote:

    An interesting article. I am 28 and grew up with Beckham. He is a great example and was a hero for England- always playing with everything he had while everyone else gave up.

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  • 95. At 08:30am on 17 Jun 2010, Rob Ilechuku wrote:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. David Beckham deserves a knighthood.

    Your article didn't make a difference to my already high opinion of the man.

    In a superficial, celebrity obsessed world where famous people are worshipped as if immortal, David Beckham stands out as an extraordinary individual.

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  • 96. At 08:40am on 17 Jun 2010, Jordan D wrote:

    I said it on Twitter, and I'll say it here: one of the best blogs written on the BBC Sport website. If only other "pundits" were able to say the same, especially those who kept claiming that taking Beckham to the World Cup would be a bad thing - and I'm looking at Phil McNulty specifically.

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  • 97. At 08:41am on 17 Jun 2010, Revilal wrote:

    Beckham is there because he aint going to pass up on the photo opportunity of a lifetime with the 2010 World Cup winning England Team. Plain and simple...

    And he's avoiding all questions/publicity because he doesn't know how to answer the 'Whats the point you being here?' question.
    And for grown men to seek a morale-booster in the form of David, I dont think so.

    ps. 'marsman' to be BBC Chief Sports Editor. That man is absolutely spot on.

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  • 98. At 08:42am on 17 Jun 2010, Prongs wrote:

    I would like to know if you consider the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to be "great" players in your standards for England.

    If you agree that they are not world class players or rather great players, we can all put this to bed.

    But I think you are merely dissing all the dirt on Beckham because of England's perennial ability to crock up in any major tournament. Obviously every team needs a player to say, he failed or he screwed up. And in 98, he did. Maybe the tackle on 2002, he did. But who would have thunk if Ronaldinho would have scored there? None. It was just one of those days.

    As to Euro 04, He missed one penalty. I still felt he had a better tournament than a lot of others. Much better than the 06 which the entire team bottled. Rooney took the blame for his sending off.

    In all these times, what you are failing to notice isn't one right wingers world class abilities. But the entire midfield of England never turning up with goals. The strikers abilities to convert their chances. And I am talking about the games against the big teams in the important phases of the tournaments.

    Lampard and Gerrard are to be blamed a lot more than Beckham. They give everything for their respective clubs, and are held as the best midfielders in the world of their generation and yet play average insipid football for their countries.

    Even more, when they score goals for their clubs consistently, like in case of Lampard, their inabilities to go and take the world stage and compete against the best, is outrageously the single most reason why England can never call themselves a real threat.

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  • 99. At 08:54am on 17 Jun 2010, RetiredNo6 wrote:

    Fabio Capello is no fool. If he believes that David's presence is helping England then I 100% back him. He knows more about football than anyone on this blog will ever know.

    David, for his part, is an absolute gentleman. I had the pleasure of chatting to him for 10 minutes or so a few years ago at a charity event and he came across as a likeable, humble, decent man.

    Big game on Friday - but with the way some of the other "big nations" have played, a victory could really foster some belief in the camp and the country. This World Cup is there for the winning.

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  • 100. At 08:57am on 17 Jun 2010, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    You have to laugh though. Beckham manages to generate headlines and blogs written about him even though he is keeping a low profile and not talking to journalists in S Africa... You got to give it to the guy - he is a master publicity machine!

    I still dont understand why he is there though. We have never taken an injured player to tournaments in the past - why now and why Beckham? Zidane isnt with the France squad as a go-between between the players and Domenech (sp) - and by the looks of it they could do with a peacekeeper. Ronaldinho isnt with Brazil etc, etc.

    I just find it a bit strange that he is there - training with the squad - being the first out the changing room and off the bus. That doesnt sound like keeping a low profile to me.

    Dont get me wrong, in his day Beckham was a good player for England and probably was our most influential performer for a while. I rate the bloke - he has his qualities and he has his deficiencies, but he was a hard-working player who gave his all for England when he was asked. I just dont see why he is still involved now when he is injured and playing Championship/League 1 standard football.

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  • 101. At 09:30am on 17 Jun 2010, Christian Oliff wrote:


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  • 102. At 09:38am on 17 Jun 2010, Nick Ling wrote:

    It just shows the power of the man when despite trying to keep a low profile, he has an entire Blog devoted to him!

    He has charmed the pants off every England manager for the last 10 years - Capello included. That goes to show what a diplomat he must be.

    A career in politics may be in the pipline.

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  • 103. At 10:39am on 17 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:


    I think your memories of games are very selective. You say Aaron Lennon ‘won that game from open play alone’. Aaron Lennon did not win that game; he had a good game and was involved in two goals. You also keep mentioning that Beckham got to take all our set pieces, as if assists from set pieces don’t count. What difference does it make? An assist from open play or a free kick or corner is still an assist. There have been plenty of occasions when Beckham has had 2 or more assists in one game for England, but of course that’s not as impressive as Aaron Lennon. Even after Brazil scored that equaliser, the game was still 1-1 –it’s not as if that moment put us out of the tournament. Ronaldo didn’t swap shirts with Beckham – Roberto Carlos did.

    Against Croatia in 2007, it was not a Hollywood ball, it was not him trying to be a hero. There wasn’t a team mate to be found, please watch the video. It was a clearance. Who’s to say that Croatia wouldn’t have scored from a throw in had Beckham, as you advised, cleared it in to row z. He does keep possession well, his range of passing is one of the best we’ve got. And as I said originally, the equaliser we scored came from a Beckham pass that no one else could have produced.

    “I mean impacting a tournament like the great players do, truly making your mark, dominating and influencing games. Dictating matches against the very best nations of your time and proving your worth.”

    Ok, so which England players have done that in recent years? You say Beckham wasn’t good against the big teams, so I’m asking who was. Against Brazil 2002, who ‘made their mark, who dominated the game for us? Against Portugal in 2006, who do you think dictated the game and proved their worth? Nobody did, maybe Owen Hargreaves but more as a defensive player than being effective going forward. In my opinion you are using Beckham as a scapegoat for all our bad performances, and then disregarding what he has done for England because of the opposition. He may have scored that free kick only against Ecuador, but where were your big stars Gerrard and Lampard, where was Rooney in that game to take us to the quarters?

    Name me a set-play taker who didn’t have that kind of marginal impact for England or any other major country in early group games against mediocre opposition.

    None of Holland’s goals came from a delivery from a free kick or corner, they scored from a free kick but no assists from them. I’m sure there were more but to be honest I cant be bothered to go through every game on Youtube. The fact is, we scored six goals in the entire tournament, Beckham was involved in 3. I see that as not a bad record to be honest, regardless of if he had the luxury of taking every set piece.

    “Hargreaves amongst others was excellent vs Portugal”

    Who else? I agree with you, for a change, that Hargreaves was our best performer, not only in this game but of the entire tournament. Who else was excellent here?

    “He went to the 2002 Kings of Europe and instantly turned them into european no hopers for the 4 years he was there.”

    Are you for real? Real Madrid haven’t got past the second round of the Champions League now for about six years, even last year with Ronaldo and kaka etc. How you can single out Beckham for this is ridiculous, and really shows how you let your dislike of him cloud common sense. Beckham was good at Madrid. He scored 5 in his first 16 games, his first was 3 minutes into his debut. He was also the led the assists in the entire league the next season when Madrid finished 2nd. And in contrast to what you said, he did come back into the team in his final season and help them win the league. That is why they tried to keep him after he’d already agreed to join LA Galaxy.

    He didn’t comprehensively prove he couldn’t play against the best. In the 5-1 win over Germany he was involved in three of the goals, he scored against Argentina, has an assist against Brazil at Wembley, assisted two against Portugal in 2000, set up Owen’s memorable goal in 1998. Look back to England’s 2-0 defeat to Spain recently, the best international team around. England were poor on the day but in the second half, had their only two chances of the match. The first was a great pass from Beckham to SWP who should’ve done better, and the second was a very good through ball from Beckham to Carlton Cole who went on to miss. Watch that match and tell me any other chance we had. I am not saying David Beckham has been absolutely amazing for England and has carried us against the big nations. I am simply saying he’s done better than most and got important goals and assists, even if they are just from set pieces, which seemingly for you doesn’t count. His moment of crying on the bench in Germany was quite fitting – he’d done all he could, gave 100% in every England game he played but in the end, we – and I mean we as in 11 players not just one man, weren’t good enough to win anything. Stop blaming Beckham for England’s failures.

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  • 104. At 10:46am on 17 Jun 2010, Scott John wrote:

    Great blog James.
    In my view, Becks is a real asset to English football.
    His ability divides opinion but his clubs and caps say it all really.
    I think the team can only benefit from his presence in SA - provided it's wanted, obviously. That said, the other players seem to respect him, especially the younger ones. Plus, the leading players always speak highly of him both as a player and a person. I only wish he was available for selection, he's still a class act.

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  • 105. At 10:53am on 17 Jun 2010, Oliver Cullen wrote:

    Finally someone has got it right and hasn't just gone down the same old tiresome cliched route of picking apart Beckhams game. 'Can't beat a man, no pace, can't tackle...only good from deadball situations.' Misguided pundits opinions recycled and used by unimginative idividuals.

    David Beckham has always been much more than the 'Beckham Brand'. His journey through football from hero to villian and back, has been the biggets part of England's recent history, but not because he was the most famous player on the pitch, but because he was the most passionate.

    Never forget how he played for the duration of 2001 - 2002 qualifying campaign, or how he celebrated his penalty against Argentina - all passion and pride for a country that had villified him - and you may just start to love a man that should be remembered as one of the hero's of English football.

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  • 106. At 11:07am on 17 Jun 2010, Stuart wrote:

    David Beckham. What a TRUE professional. A true Englishman who has ALWAYS been 100% proud to play and contribute for his country. He has shown more commitment and effort to England over the years than ANY other player. No one could deny that. In my opinion, even a half fit Beckham would have added so much to the England squad in entheusiasm alone, aside from his ability on the field. That he is there now only serves to confirm what a true professional he is... And I am a Chelsea man. Probably the most commited English sportsman for years. 100/100

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  • 107. At 11:40am on 17 Jun 2010, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    Probably the most commited English sportsman for years. 100/100


    I think people like Steve Redgrave, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jonathan Edwards, WC winning Rugby U team, etc would all have a word to say about that statement. Plus all of them achieved something on an international level in their chosen sport/field. Commitment in sportsmen (and women) should be par for the course to be honest.

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  • 108. At 11:57am on 17 Jun 2010, Greig wrote:

    Speaking as a Scotsman,

    I happen to admire Beckham, he is not only a talented individual but a also a genuine guy.

    This was proven with the recent Sport Relief in which James Corden had booked Mr Beckham for a mere 30 mins...but ended up spending all day and night with the guy.....

    And fair play to him for supporting In-Ger-Land in their bid to win the World Cup (not going to happen by the way) :P

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  • 109. At 12:41pm on 17 Jun 2010, steven hollingworth wrote:

    as a liverpool supporter i wouldn't normally waste my time commenting on someone with man utd connections. however, i've a lot of time for beckham and think he's a top bloke. i can't think of many footballers who would tag along to help their country in the knowledge that there is no chance of him playing because of injury. if anyone could have whipped a quality cross in with this rubbish ball it's him. i wish him all the best in his recovery and hope to see him playing for england again soon.

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  • 110. At 1:15pm on 17 Jun 2010, KLEINLOWE wrote:

    About Mr. Beckham. I'm sorry but I can't agree with the majority of his fans who posted their comment on this blog. Mr. David Beckham is just a very good average footballer and is too much over rated for his skills and abilities. He is actually very lucky that he was born in England because if he were to be German or Italian I doubt that he would manage to play in a famous team. The proof of it is the fact that he accepted to play for an Italian team only at the end of his football career when he doesn't have anything to lose but if he were to play for a non English team earlier in his twenties then we would see that he is not such a star and he would fight against his team mates for a place on the pitch. I'm sorry that this may sound very blunt but it should be a wake up call for English football fans

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  • 111. At 1:23pm on 17 Jun 2010, NoahWatford wrote:

    Beckham is, as most of the comments on here outline, a true Englishman. Yes he earns pots of money, but why shouldn't he? He and others quickly recognized his talents as a commodity and have made the most of it.

    To get to the soul of the man himself though, is to think back to the times he has played for Manchester United and England. He would give his eye teeth to get back to OT, just look at the reception he got when returning with AC Milan this year, but don't forget what he gave back, he has a true connection with the fans of clubs and country because he is genuine. The same goes for England. To wear the shirt, sing the national anthem and play for your country is as good as it gets for him I feel, at least that is what he portrays. He has hardly put a foot wrong from an England point of view since 98 and I for one am delighted that he is there to lend his experience and support to a team that needs all the help it can get.

    In my humble opinion, being English is working hard, trying to take opportunities when they come your way and make the most of them, being gracious in victory and defeat and never giving up. Beckham epitomized these things as England captain and has done so with no small amount of class. Some of the best moments in the last three WC's include him and rightly so. Unlike most footballers, post football, he has a big future ahead of him and good luck to him. If he can start by helping to bring some success to this WC campaign, I as a supporter will be indebted to him again!

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  • 112. At 2:45pm on 17 Jun 2010, Zebtheowl wrote:

    @ 110, do you honestly beleive that? David beckham will never go down as an amazing player but to describe the guy as average is just plain ridiculous. He was good at most aspects of the game but where he shone was his passion, work rate and of course his set peices.

    Beckham played for real as well if you have forgotten and improved the side at the end of the season when they won the title.

    Beckham is overrated as a player no doubt, i think anyone that has such hype surrounding them would be, but no where near as much as you have made out.

    Great English ambassador and great for the sport in general.

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  • 113. At 2:54pm on 17 Jun 2010, London79 wrote:

    A very fair, well-reasoned, intelligent and fully enjoyable blog Mr Pearce. I can only imagine (with horror) what biased, unjustified nonsense we would have been subjected to had this been written by Mr McNulty. I hope to see more of you, and less of him, in the future.

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  • 114. At 3:03pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Harvey, we can go around in cricles with this. Id like you to name me the "plenty" of occassions beckham contributed more than 2 assists/goals in any of his 115 games. A myth. As for his shirt post the Brazil game, this from the press cuttings; "The Brazilian star Ronaldo put his finger on it after Brazil beat England in the last World Cup, in 2002, and he and Beckham exchanged shirts. “Normally when you swap shirts, especially after a game in the heat like that, they absolutely stink and are soaked in sweat,” Ronaldo said. “So it was a surprise, to say the least, that Beckham’s shirt smelt only of perfume.”

    I could continue and take apart the other points but its a waste of time. It comes down to this. The vast majority of people as shown on this blog believe Beckham achieved things in an england shirt he clearly never did. Thats fine. Its also patently clear that the vast majority agree with the article that nothing Beckham does is cynical and self-serving and everything is done "for the nation" or for others. Thats also fine, i just happento disagree having witnessed events and utilised my own brain.

    To Mr Pearce and his followers here, his wearing of the green gold scarf at the end of the Milan-United tie was entirely accidental and innocent. To me, it wasnt. Thats the crux. To Mr Pearce and Beckhams followers his tears sat on that bench in Germany were entirely selfless and he had no responsibility or obligation as england captain to remain positive and upbeat for his teamates on the field as they were at 0-0 in a world cup quarter-final match. To me he did have that obligation. To them it mattered not a jot that Beckham then proceeded to meander through our players pre-penalty shoot-out as captain with a tear-ravaged face of misery and self-pity when in my opinion he should have been thinking less of himself and more of the team and nation at that point. Thats the difference in a nutshell. We`ll never agree on the guys motivations in these situations, so we just have to accept our respective positions and leave it there.

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  • 115. At 3:08pm on 17 Jun 2010, London79 wrote:

    You have to laugh at the competitiveness of these BBC reporters. Mr Pearce writes a great blog, and McNulty, incandescent with rage no doubt at the positive feedback instantly received, logs on as Marsman to stir the pot. What next, Hansen and Lineker wrestling each other to the ground on the MOTD sofa??

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  • 116. At 3:22pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 117. At 3:33pm on 17 Jun 2010, sheer_delightful wrote:

    'he may be able to pass on some advice on crossing to Aaron Lennon.'
    I'm sure Beckham got to be as good as he did at set pieces and crossing through practice (Alex Ferguson says so in his autobiography) - something all of our players could do with some advice on, I think.

    Good to see more people positive than negative commenting on this article - Beckham has been a positive influence throughout his career. I've never seen the benefit of being negative about him.

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  • 118. At 4:02pm on 17 Jun 2010, BrewerHorse wrote:

    Marsman, you're giving the impression that you're a man whos unfulfilled with his life. Let it go, whatever your feelings about Beckhams ability to blame him for Englands failures is just pathetic. Football is a team game and the fact is our whole team have been consistently poor for the majority of the last two decades.
    In my opinion Beckham and Joe Cole have been the only players who have consistently played to their ability for England in the last 10 or so years. As much as I like Gerrard and Lampard for their clubs, no-one can deny that for England they are both just awful, for whatever reasons.

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  • 119. At 4:27pm on 17 Jun 2010, Lord_Cat wrote:

    For some strange reason my original comments here were removed...hmmm.
    Anyway,I agree with everything Marsman says.
    The fact that sports writer like James Pearce are still so in awe of the great Beckham myth is laughable.
    So if Beckham is such an asset to the squad in his present role then surely he will have to be part of every england squad from now on until he is ultimately installed as manager? I fear that will happen,Beckham will be manager of england sooner or later...
    In years to come after England have gone out of this world cup in the usual disappointing fashion, the ridiculous idea of having Beckham as part of the set up will be looked back on as one of Capellos big mistakes.

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  • 120. At 4:39pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Brewerhorse, Michael Owen is perhaps the sole attacking player england could rely on in the last 10 years plus to have the weight to be a force when we came up against the top sides. Beckahm doesnt even come close. As for Lampard, he hasnt been great but only if you understand just what went on with Beckham under Eriksson do you understand how it was all set up around Beckham and to the degree he was indulged. In that context, i absolve the Lampards and Gerrards to a large extent but its true, they have an opportunity now to express themselves in this world cup and onward. They certainly excelled in the qualifying campaign with Beckham relegated to the bench at best. Keep him off the pitch and we have a chance. And you suggest Lampard has been "just awful". His record is 20 goals in 79 games. Beckhams is 17 from 115. I guess there are degrees of awfulness.

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  • 121. At 4:52pm on 17 Jun 2010, BrewerHorse wrote:

    Ok I agree Michael Owen was class in his day but I do think he started to go downhill after he left Liverpool and became injury prone. But I'm not gonna slate the guy, he has scored alot of good goals for us against all manner of opposition.
    As for degrees of awfulness, rating Beckham on his goal return is like rating a keeper on pass completion. Hes never been a goal scorer, his main talent is delivery. Come on, surely when you watch Lennon, Wright-Phillips and Walcott sprint down the line and then boot the ball to no-one you must recognise what Beckham can do. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you had a private conversation asking our strikers who'd they want on the right to deliver them balls, that the answer would be Beckham. Pace is useless if you can't pick out a teammate.
    Anyway you clearly don't like the guy and nothing I say is going to change that view, nor is that my intention. Its just that he gets lumped with the blame whenever England fail which is completely unfair and unjustified.

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  • 122. At 5:11pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    its just that, it was an utter myth about beckhams "delivery". I watched the guy for game after game year after year and he was impotent through the 90 minutes on almost every occassion and especially when up against a defender who knew how to contain a one trick one footed pony of a player. Even in beckhams supposedly "great moment" games from 115, Greece 2001 and Argentina 2002, he produced absolutely nothing from open play. No service, no penetration, no "crosses" which was billed as his talent. Its garbage to claim he ever, EVER provided this "barrage" of crosses, its a total mistruth. Why shouldnt beckham be judged aswell as his lack of service, on his woeful goalscoring record? He got to take every dead ball situation around the opposition box for 15 years, he was handed disgracefully the designated penalty takers role when his celebrity and influence got so out of hand under Eriksson that he demanded it. He attempted goal over his entire career from free-kicks v Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil and ended it having never found the net against a first ranking nation. His tenure as penalty taker was disastrous, costing us a massive win v France in euro2004 and sending us down the swanny v Portugal.

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  • 123. At 5:13pm on 17 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:

    Marsman (again):)

    I don’t know what your source is or what paper its from, but if you watch the game again you will see for your own eyes Beckham swaps shirts with Roberto Carlos, not Ronaldo. And this whole thing about his shirt not smelling of sweat is one thing that I don’t think you can level at Beckham. Like him or not, you surely can't disagree that he's always given everything he's got for England.

    You're criticising him for crying on the bench - I'm pretty sure no England player looked over and thought 'Oh no, Becks is crying' and was affected by it. They're professional footballers, international footballers who don’t need to look at their captain. A lot of them were club captains/vice captains themselves. He was upset because he knew he was planning to relinquish the captaincy and he was sad it was going to end with him injured. It wasn’t like he had a big tantrum and made a scene, he sat quietly with tears in his eyes. Some people will criticise him for anything...

    You haven’t "taken apart" any of my points - you've listed an avoidance of a tackle and a clearance that led to a goal. All you've mentioned on my points is that his goals and assists come from set pieces, as if they don’t matter from set pieces.

    And you asked me to mention games in which he's contributed to two goals:

    Portugal Euro 2000 - he set up two

    Ukraine 2000 - Think it was just a friendly, we won 2-0 and both goals came from Becks assists.

    Germany 2001 - he was involved in 3 of the 5 goals.

    Greece 2001 - scored the free kick and set up Teddy Sheringham.

    Denmark 2002 - Assisted two of the 3.

    Croatia 2003 - I was at this game so remember quite well he scored a penalty and then set up Michael Owen.

    Lichtenstein 2003 - I’m not sure if this counts for you because of the opposition, but he set up a Michael Owen header in the first half and scored a free kick in the second half.

    Macedonia 2003 - Again in the Euro qualifiers, scoring one and having a hand in the other.

    Ukraine 2004 - Another friendly just after the Euros, he scored one and set up Michael Owen again.

    Argentina 2005 - He set up Wayne Rooney and he might have set up one of Owen’s, not totally sure on this though.

    Hungary 2006 - In a world cup warm up match, he set up Gerrard and Terry.

    Jamaica 2006 - Again a world cup warm up match, we won 6-0 and two Beckham free kicks created goals, one for Crouch and another an own goal.

    These are ones that spring to mind, I had to look up two or three of them but those are the ones I remember. There might even be more, and there have been plenty of times when he’s just had one assist. Like it or not, his delivery from set pieces has been a huge asset to England over the years. It’s not even an opinion, it’s a fact.


    Why are you talking about his goals return? Since when was he prolific? 17 goals in 115 games isnt bad for a right midfielder, particularly when some of those caps have come from 10 minute appearances. Try and research his assists record and then come back and tell me he's been rubbish for England.

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  • 124. At 5:24pm on 17 Jun 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Not sure why people are having a go at him? One of the truly genuine world class British players of the last ten years, and on top of that a decent fella willing to put in the hours to get the best out of what he has. The fact that he's there and of hos own accord with nothing to gain from it, coaching experience aside perhaps, speaks volumes about the man.

    Also, not sure why someone would have a go at Keegan, he walked because he thought he wasn't good enough tactically at this level. He could have hung around and taken his compensation akin to third world deficit like all the others, but left honourably in my opinion.

    Both were great players, and seem like decent blokes on the face of it for me.

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  • 125. At 5:25pm on 17 Jun 2010, VillainV wrote:

    I have massive respect for Beckham, this guy loves football and he loves England. He always give his all, yes he couldn't head the ball, yes he can't take players on, yes he isn't a clinical finisher, but noone can doubt his freekick and passing ability (why take a player on when your pass beats about 5).

    Double runners up FIFA world player of the year, England Captain, played for the top clubs in the world. Well deserved for his hard work!

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  • 126. At 5:29pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Harvey, youre comical. Friendlies against HUngary, Liechenstein and macedonia-is that REALLY what youve been reduced to in your attempts to paint his record as a successful one? Hes englands hero isnt he? 15 year national "legend" of a major football country? Do you think in a parrallel universe somewhere, someone is seeking out friendlies v Liechenstein or Jamaica to try and defend Zidanes career with France or Figos with Portugal or Ronaldos with Brazil? Hes that "famous" isnt he? And even amongst your self-invented friendly "achievements" by "Becks", you display the trait of a Beckhamite, bare faced lie and spin. So now its not a goal or an assist but if hes "involved" in a goal, how many playuers can claim that over games in their careers, hilarity. And now to the lies. Amongst them a claim that beckham "set-up" a goal for Owen v Argentina. I recall that game and it was only when Gerrard replaces Beckham on the right that we begun to get any tangible service from that flank all match. Gerrard proceeded to plant one on Owens head for a goal. Thats what Beckham couldnt do that match and throughout his utterly vacuous career. Go on, give me the facts and this time i mean FACTS, not lies and spin. HOW MANY times did David Beckham in all his years playing with Owen, put a ball onto his head from 90 minutes of open play? If his hype and claims about "crossing" are in any way justified then there should be, what, 25 examples from 100 odd games? NOt asking too much is it? But. Are there even 10? 5? 3? Beyond parody. And dont be absurd, are you really trying to claim it was the behaviour of a "captain" to give our players PRE penalty shoot-out a face of misery and defeat with tears running down it as we were about to try and achieve something meaningful and get through to the semis? Do you think thats how the portuguese captain was "geeing up" his men, by showing them a self-pitying face of diaster? Laughable.

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  • 127. At 5:42pm on 17 Jun 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Someone makes a good point on here about passing, and I think that hits the nail on the head when it comes to our footballing mentality - why try and beat your man when you can pass to an open team mate? Simple philosophy that we don't seem capable of grasping. Football is a simple game about space and movement, only coaches and tactics make it complicated.

    marsman, Beckham was a quality player who got the most out of his career, played for some of the best teams on the planet and led his country with pride and passion. Trying to point out flaws or individual errors in games is pointless, he's achieved a heck of a lot in the game, you don't get the things he has without hard work and dedication.

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  • 128. At 5:42pm on 17 Jun 2010, Lord_Cat wrote:

    Anyway, things have reached a Pythonesque absurdity when we are at the World Cup 2010,David Beckham is not part of the squad, and there are STILL headlines such as: Beckham impresses in South Africa

    The other saner countires must laugh at us!

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  • 129. At 5:47pm on 17 Jun 2010, Harvey wrote:

    You're comical mate - you're blaming him for everything. You asked me to list games in which he's scored or assisted two goals, I gave some of the ones I remember. The only friendlies on there were ones that say they were friendlies, the games you mentioned were Euro 2004 qualifiers. What you're forgetting is the majority of games England play are against weak opposition, thats how qualifiers work. You can only beat whats in front of you. When I said involved, it simply meant assist, just didnt want to type the word assist over and over, so changed the way I said it. I am however glad it made you laugh - one moment of happiness you've shown in your tedious rants. There will be loads more games he has set up goals, I only listed where he had two. In a career over 15 years, are you really expecting me to go through every single appearance and pick out his contributions?

    At first, you tell me its a myth that he assists 2 or more goals in a game, then when I give you some of them you expect me to list every single occasion. Absolutely ridiculous.

    Regarding the Argentina freiendly, I clearly stated I couldnt remember properly whether he set it up or not. Hardly a lie. And you said that lie was amongst many others, so point out where they were?

    I never compared Beckham to Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo etc. He isnt in their league. My point throughout this entire argument is that Beckham has done quite well in an ever-failing England team. Would you like to name any ENGLAND players that have such a better record than Beckham? The only ones you listed were foreign.

    So was Gazza at fault for crying in 1990? Crying shows they actually care, and if you're trying to imply Beckham's tears affected us losing then you're wrong. He was substitued on 52 minutes, therefore England had over an hour to recover from the serious after-effects of their captain showing some emotion.

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  • 130. At 5:48pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    No Stevat, youre the one thats wrong. Becham didnt have the armoury, PROVED time and time AGAIN to hurt proper opposition so he did need more than the ability to stand falt-footed and boot a deep ball into the box. Serious teams lapped that up all day long, it was so typically english to think that putting a cross in to a big man was the way to genuine success. Thats what gave the hopelessly misguided beckham myth such life support even when time after time, event after event, it was proven it didnt work. You ask people how they think Brazil and Spain have come to dominate and so backward is the Beckham 80s english style thought pattern, that you almost expect them to claim its by pumping balls into their front men and not through incisive, fluent, compact and shaped play. This is what Capello though like it or not forstly through Mcclrane, has been trying to achieve and take us. It worked a treat in the qualifiers and if we`re ever to truly get anywhere on the world stage its where we have to be. Going back to the braindeadery of the old discredited and thoroughly exposed Beckham myth displays the intelligence of the Numbskull

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  • 131. At 5:57pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    it didnt need to be ever-failing and wasnt a failure twice in 90s when we touched the final with one hand. If wed had a proper manager in charge like Ferguson, he would have booted Beckham and his self-delusions where the sun dont shine long before it got as putridly out of hand as it did get under Eriksson. He would have built our side around a genuine technician like Scholes and kept beckham as the minor figure he is in serious football terms. Eriksson let the shouty little fame wannbee man-child run riot, he gave in to every whim Beckham ever had and we were quite simply stuffed the moment that culture was allowed to dominate. I dont accept for a second England were better off under that Eriksson-Beckham dominating culture during those years than we could and would have been under a Ferguson-Scholes or a serious football manager who knew the difference between a great footballer and a great celebrity.

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  • 132. At 6:58pm on 17 Jun 2010, SkyBlueSheeco wrote:

    For me this sums up David Beckham perfectly. He is a living legend if u want advice for anything in football David Beckham has been there and done it so he is your man, thats why he is there, he has had everything football (both good and bad) can throw at him. For Becks to still be as passionate and commited to country while injuered and after what the press and public put him through after France 98 is a credit to the man. He is showing his pride to be English and the man should be knighted for what he has done worldwide for England and football. Sir David Beckham what a legend.

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  • 133. At 7:02pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    I never compared Beckham to Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo etc. He isnt in their league.
    At last, something we can agree on.

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  • 134. At 7:09pm on 17 Jun 2010, ToonBoy105 wrote:

    An excellent article.
    The point of the article was not to praise Beckham's footballing ability, it was to portray him as the ambassador for the country that he is. In my opinion, he was never an exceptional player, merely a good one whose undoubted talent was highlighted by the excellence of team-mates such as Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Cantona, van Nistelrooy et al. And although he has made mistakes, to my mind he has handled the incessant trials and tribulations of celebrity with dignity. And as James points out, if he is the celebrity-seeking, narcissistic character some of you are making him out to be, he would have been making a song and dance about his involvement in South Africa. He can't help the cameras cutting to him when he's kicking every ball and looking pensive as Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips bumble their way down the wing before delivering a feeble end product - hopefully he's helping these two with their crosses.
    Those of you who are questioning Beckham's credentials are probably correct to an extent - he is a talismanic figure and a superb role model, but this rises more from his fame than from his footballing prowess. But what he has proved himself to be, especially considering how devastated and broken he must have been about the injury before the World Cup, is a selfless, wholehearted and genuine figure who is eschewing glitz, glamour and relaxation to help the England squad. That's the point of the article.

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  • 135. At 7:19pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    ToonBoy105, i wonder if we`ll ever find out the real thoughts of englands senior players on beckhams eternal attempt to hang onto the trappings of fame via the national squad. Maybe it wont be as brutal as what they thought when Beckham previosuly used a south african icon, Nelson Mandela, to serve his own needs over and above those of the squad but we can only guess on that.

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  • 136. At 7:27pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    For me this sums up David Beckham perfectly. He is a living legend
    oh Definately. Never achieved the feats of the korean and turkish players and performed in a big tournament last 8 game but still patently a "legend". Never dominated a game v a proper side, never scored at wembley, never impacted a major tournament but still, of course, a "legend". Nothing to do with his celebrity that fills such as empty minds as yours, of course not. Just one question. When youve done handing Beckham a "Knighthood", what happens when we get a footballer who actually achieves something meaningful in an england shirt in their career? What happens if we get a group of players who do go on and win the ultimate prize with perhaps Rooney emulating Hurst and delivering a hat-trick in a WC Final? What his reward seeing as "Becks" has already "earnt" one for scoring an equaliser once in a qualifier on his own pitch sometime in the last century? A Double Knighthood? A Triple? The mind boggles.

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  • 137. At 7:31pm on 17 Jun 2010, charliecatz wrote:

    I agree totally with this article very well written. There does seem to be something missing from the England team. Wonder how good his three sons are at football? Have they got their fathers talents?

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  • 138. At 9:39pm on 17 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    They used to but unlike their father, they ceased balling their eyes out when they hit 5.

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  • 139. At 10:01pm on 17 Jun 2010, HoustonFox wrote:

    Marsman, what are you on? Whatever it is I want some! "Becks" to me has always been an average footballer but a nice bloke. I wonder if he gets more respect because of that? Probably, there are lots of other nice (if not nicER) blokes but because they aren't chiselled super models married to pop stars (note how I didn't say pop singer?) they don't get as much attention. I think the circus around him is overwhelming and sometimes even he must tire from it and wish he was Craig Short...

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  • 140. At 00:15am on 18 Jun 2010, redpreacherman wrote:

    If it were in my gift I would award Marsman a Knighthood. Why, because he has made me cry with laughter. The last person to do that was Norman Wisdom and he at least could reasonably claim to be a comedian.

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  • 141. At 02:22am on 18 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Im happy i amused you. As it happnes, the last person to make me cry with laughter was David Beckham doing his "hard man" act at Euro2004. A bigger clown of Footballing comedy even Norman Wisdom couldnt hope of emulating.

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  • 142. At 08:26am on 18 Jun 2010, darren wrote:

    Maybe it's just me but is this DB's introduction into International coaching. David is reaching the age where " its not the kids who are getting quicker ". He has an immence footballing talent and maybe Capello has realised that DB is the man to pull in to help him along.
    It's a shame for David that the injury occured so close to the tounament but maybe it's time for some of his experience ( and he has lot's ) to be parted onto some of the younger players.
    PS. Fantistic article.

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  • 143. At 08:48am on 18 Jun 2010, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    @ redpreacherman

    Marsman is ace mate - always worth a read on his latest thoughts on Beckham! As soon as I saw this article go up I knew he would be all over it

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  • 144. At 10:32am on 18 Jun 2010, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:

    Experienced England midfield maestro David Beckham has been serving Jogo Bonito with dedication. Many among us would have loved to watch him taking those free kicks and corner kicks with his customary precision.

    Beckham is still a player and though not playing in the current tournament his presence in the set up will surely encourage his team mates. By being with the team in South Africa ace footballer David Beckham is being true to his vocation and mission as footballer and ambassador of the Beautiful Game.

    Fine write up by James Pearce. Thanks.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 145. At 11:25am on 18 Jun 2010, Captain_K wrote:

    Beckham = Top Bloke & Credit to England.

    Bravo that man.

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  • 146. At 12:15pm on 18 Jun 2010, dannyboy wrote:

    During Euro 2004, I took a coachload of kids to see England train in Lisbon. At the end of the session, and on a baking hot morning, the kids were divided up into groups and told that two England players (and only two) would come over and sign autographs for each group (my group got David James and Paul Scholes).

    This is what happened: the England players came over, signed their autographs and duly disappeared. David Beckham (who was supposed to go just to one lucky group) went to every single group and signed every kid's bit of paper, shirt, arm etc. He went to every child there (about 150 kids) and despite someone from the FA trying to pull him away, saying it was time to go, he didn't bat an eyelid. His teammates were around for 5 minutes (fair enough), he stayed around for about half an hour. To say that the man soared in my estimation is an understatement. A real pro and a real gent. I wish there were more like him.

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  • 147. At 4:34pm on 18 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    Dannyboy, hes a boy who loves to be loved, especially by the kiddies, no-ones ever denied that. He adores the fame, the adulation and the hero-worship. Characters are different, others like Scholes and co believe in behaving with quiet dignity, its not something to hold against them. Beckham is mr average joe who got lucky and frankly cant believe that luck who then assumed a Jacksoneqsue and unfounded fame based on that monster of celebrity. It didnt and doesnt mean hes a great footballer. He isnt, wasnt, and he didnt warrant the influence of one on our set-up just because of his image and his massive pop-star fame.

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  • 148. At 4:50pm on 18 Jun 2010, Lugdunum wrote:

    Anyone know how many assists Beckham has for England then?

    I'd love to know.

    Personally I like the guy. 100% profesional who knew his weaknesses and worked tirelessly on his strengths.

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  • 149. At 5:12pm on 18 Jun 2010, London79 wrote:

    Marsman just give other people a break ok. You have your opinion and that's fine, but your continued comments about your opinion being based on your level of intelligence, whereas everyone who disagrees has been "blinded" by the Beckham media phenomenom, actually make your comments sound like less of an opion (to which you are entitled) and more like a vicious (and frankly jealous) rant.

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  • 150. At 00:02am on 19 Jun 2010, Lon wrote:

    Marsman, you make me giggle!

    The absolute majority of this post is positive towards the impact DB has made on the England team. You obviously have different views but out of interest, lets's see YOUR TOP 10 of England national team players who have played alongside DB and have have played a greater contribution in your eyes? (don't forget Cantona, Giggs, Schmeichel, Cantona and Teves don't count ;))

    It's so easy to be a critic, let's see who you are comparing the subject of this article against.

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  • 151. At 3:52pm on 19 Jun 2010, SkyBlueSheeco wrote:

    Marsman u must actually be from mars or scotland one of the two. I bet you sitting in front of your computer in your underpants stuffing your face with cheesy watsits, filled with jealousy for people that have made something of themselves or who have achieved something more than just putting on a pair of bottoms and walking to the shop to pick up a paper and a fresh bag of watsits. Becks has done great things for football all around the world and if his celebity has helped in that then good fair, play to him for using what is availible to him in order to do some good. And as for a player i agree not in the same league as Zidane or Figo but what has figo achieved? Becks whore is heart on his sleeve put in 110% and that to me makes him a legend!

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  • 152. At 7:00pm on 19 Jun 2010, Larky wrote:

    Wholeheartedly agree with the blog. How refreshing to have and article that is so positive and no alterior agenda. Are you sure you are a journalist?


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  • 153. At 01:53am on 20 Jun 2010, Anne wrote:

    There seems to be only one ball on the pitch. Don't know only England has the difficult one.

    Mr Beckham is a person of quality . He seems to care about the right things for the right reasons. Might be why the English press don't like him.

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  • 154. At 02:35am on 20 Jun 2010, danno wrote:

    I pity you. I don't know what circumstance has made you so bitter and bucolic about Becks, but I cannot comprehend your rabid despising of a single player (not rabid? – how many times have you posted long rants in this thread and I would guess many others?). To be so utterly blinkered about the guy's contribution to the England team throughout his career is frankly beyond comprehension.
    As a Liverpool supporter I loathe with a passion everything associated with Man U. Everything but Becks. I've always liked him. From the time that he scored that audacious long range goal against Spurs through the 98 world cup right up to the present day. I note that through all of your vitriol you fail to name an England player who could replace him in terms of taking free kicks, making 60 metre passes and firing pinpoint passes from the right flank.
    His sending off in 98 was a joke. Yes, it was impetuous, but it was nothing. A talking to at best, at worst a yellow card. Poor refereeing. And yet we didn't lose that match because of that. we lost it because Campbell's "goal" was disallowed because Shearer decided to foul a defender. He is entirely responsible for us going out and it should have been him, if anyone, hung as an effigy.
    The rest of the "failings" that you pick out amaze me. You seem to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of every mistake that he has made coupled with a total ignorance of every single one of the almost innumerable contributions that he has made during games over the years and the failings of all of the players that he has played alongside. How many of his raking crossfield passes that change games have you calculated into your “stats”? How many pinpoint crosses have Heskey, Owen, Defoe et al managed to waste? Was that his fault? How many times have the others given the ball away wastefully in bad positions? And how many of them have given everything they have in every game that they have played?
    Again I pity you. It is you who have been blinded by the media, not the Beckham fans. You don't like his "pretty boy" status. You don't like his pop star wife. You don't like his endorsements. You've been blinded to what an important player he has been to England over the past 14 years. You also presumably think that the notoriously unsentimental Cappello reinstated him at Real after saying that he had played his last game due to sentiment (and you can question Cappello's ability at international level but as a club coach his record is amazing and his total lack of sentiment shines ever on), rather than realising that he had the best right winger in Europe sitting on the bench?
    I seriously hope that one day your blinkers will fall away and you can see his performances as a genuine fan.

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  • 155. At 07:05am on 20 Jun 2010, bijou10 wrote:

    Lovely blog, and I agree 100%!! While I can't really speak on the whole devotion one's country (I'm American and I am not going for our team, condemn me if you want-Go England!) he does seem thoroughly devoted to England which is great to see. I have always respected him on and off the field, and in truth he's the only reason I've ever really gotten into football. I couldn't name a single bloke before Beckham so thank you England for producing him :)
    His being there without being paid says lots for his character, at least in my opinion. I believe if people put aside any negative opinions about him and footballing (is that a word?) they can see a truly remarkable man. I admire him, because I wouldn't have gone and looked up the greats before him, nor would I have discovered my now favorite team, Manchester Utd. So bravo to his South African presence! He could be anywhere, like the blogger said, but he's rooting for England in the center of all the action. That's gotta count for something.

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  • 156. At 1:02pm on 20 Jun 2010, IL76 wrote:

    Has Marsman finally given up spewing verbal diarrhea?

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  • 157. At 9:17pm on 20 Jun 2010, mike was wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 158. At 9:20pm on 20 Jun 2010, mike was wrote:

    Go to

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    this man should have won the world cup
    Best dead ball striker of all time. Clip says it all
    enjoy he was the best we've seen

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  • 159. At 00:22am on 21 Jun 2010, HotHeadWazza wrote:

    @ post #2

    Lennon was at the LAST World Cup! Played decent!

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  • 160. At 04:12am on 21 Jun 2010, manilabomber wrote:

    All this talk of boredom.........Maybe David B could take the lads out onto the hotel lawn put down some jumpers and have a round robin home club five a side to encourage a bit of competative spirit.And do this with the "new ball".

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  • 161. At 07:12am on 21 Jun 2010, Ezzer wrote:

    Thinking of the future this seems to me an excellent form of experience between a player and a coaching capacity for Beckham. This may be the foundation for a potential future England coach.

    By earning his badges and some gradual support coaching experience. In years to come a character such as Beckham with his perception of all that has gone on during this tornament from this perspective may be an increadibly powerfull asset for out game.

    As for his sending off years ago I was never one to blame Beckham to the extent the was villified then. It seems to me everyone remembers the impetious kick of his. Yet every one forgets moments before Simone running full belt and deliberatly launching himself at Beckham whilst out of the refs sight. looks a very concerted attempt to take a player out never mind any possible gamesmanship.

    if you get the chance to see the incident again, watch that part carefully, not just Beckhams reaction towards the end. Also as Simone gets up there seems to be some "afters" going on.

    I belive most players would have reacted far more severly to that provocation. I'm not a out and out fan of Beckham, i feel his reputation as a player has been exaggerated a touch because of his unique ability in just the aspect of a high quality long ball. be it free kick or pass. However over time I feel there's a lot more to his intelligence for the game than he's given credit for. This blog seems to point toward a great potential for out future national game.

    Could Beckham currently be to a managers position what Fabregas was to a midfielders position when he 1st signed for the Barca youth ?

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  • 162. At 3:24pm on 21 Jun 2010, theoharris94 wrote:

    While I think that it is very admiral that Beckham is there supporting his team, i cant help but think that the reason why he is there is to get more publicity for the England world cup bid, by showing commitment from a British football icon.

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  • 163. At 6:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, englandLOL wrote:

    Just admit it! England will never ever win a world cup. They won once as they are host. English man has 1% confidence of both south and north americans have.

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  • 164. At 6:29pm on 21 Jun 2010, Nick Berger wrote:

    Mr Pearce you should be ashamed of yourself! John Terry never said the things that you announced on the BBC news that he was supposed to have said and you very well know it. I have watched the press conference very carefully and the press clearly led him into a corner with their questioning then proceeded to thread answers he gave to two different questions together to come up with one statement that you have used for your own ends. You should not be working for the BBC as your journalism is of the worst kind more suited in fact to the News of the World.

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  • 165. At 6:56pm on 21 Jun 2010, essexdragon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 166. At 7:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, essexdragon wrote:

    This article makes me laugh if anyone dares to criticise Beckham they are immediately accused of being Jealous. Criticise any other player? that's ok.

    If Beckham wants to keep such a low profile and doesn't want any publicity then why does he sit on the england bench in his smart FA suit.

    It's all about brand Beckham, and maintaining his high profile. Imagine the negative press if he was being paid by the FA? He already has £70M+ what's a few hundred grand against global publicity.

    The problem I have, is that there always appears to be an element of self promotion in whatever he does.

    The infamous fergie and the flying boot to his eye?
    The numerous hair styles?
    The body art

    all to draw attention to himself, a papperazzi dream.

    Beckham was a good player, in a great Manchester Utd era but never a great player himself.

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  • 167. At 9:55pm on 21 Jun 2010, paddysam wrote:

    Beckham is one of the good guys, he might be English through and through but he has adopted the American tradition of philanthopy. It's great to see him working with the squad and can only be good foe the team,

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  • 168. At 01:42am on 22 Jun 2010, EngHooligan wrote:

    Get Beckham as involved as possible, we have no captain, why is Lampard the mediator, where is Gerrard he is captain - who is getting all the lads going out there! No-one! I have been blogging about me and my mates England adventure in SA during the world cup and we all feel here that England need a Becks or someone to stand up and be counted! My money is on Rooney! see my views here:

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  • 169. At 03:49am on 22 Jun 2010, Zak1969 wrote:

    one of the best articles i've read on BBC site for long time ! well done.

    I am Greek so I will give you a non-english view...
    (mainly to those who are anti-Beckham)

    David Beckham, is a true legend. He is by far the best sportsman of England's recent history. A true ambassador of your country and a real gentleman. You guys should be PROUD you have him - don't let the Americans take him - one day you will regret it.

    Footballing ability - he is not the best, not one of the best either - who cares ? why does he have to be the best ? What does Zidane do for France ? What did Maradona do for Argentina ? David is a very good player and he doesnt have to be the best. Above all he was the best captain you had (or do you prefer John Terry ?) and a ROLE MODEL for young kids. A true professional also. I wish Greece had someone like him

    He went to Milan and had all that trouble with his usa team just because he felt it would be an honour to wear Englands shirt during the world cup and you guys are still wondering ! had he asked one of your top 6 teams if he could play in the premiership you and your media would laugh at him and yet AC Milan are happy to have him - does it not make you wonder why you guys always think you know best, when the whole world can actually appreciate your one true diamond more than you do ?

    You can stop being small minded and appreciate the man and his efforts and let him be an example to the rest of your players who are clearly more talented than David but would happily let you down every time !

    For those who doubt Beckham i say this - look at your team now and be honest - IF YOU HAD 11 x BECKHAMS YOU WOULD BE 100% SURE OF WINNING THE WORLD CUP !

    ps. to #13 are you on another planet ?

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  • 170. At 10:13am on 22 Jun 2010, bill smith wrote:

    At one time I, in common with many others (probably), thought of Beckham as another slightly incoherent, flash, spoilt and tacky footballer in the mould of other flash, slightly incoherent and overpaid footballers who do little to set an example: .. to the kids, at least: viz his sending off in the Argentina game in France '98.

    He went up in my estimation with his last ditch goal vs Greece, and the way he stepped up to take that penalty against Argentina in 2002 (Was it really that long ago??,......... can't believe it)

    Since then he has established himself with credit as an England captain and as an ambassador for the game and the country, showing I believe a commitment and integrity that now IS an example to others and the kids
    who follow the game & Beckham.

    For him to be part of a successful 2018 bid would be quite outstanding.

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  • 171. At 1:35pm on 22 Jun 2010, marsman wrote:

    I am Greek so I will give you a non-english view...
    (mainly to those who are anti-Beckham)

    David Beckham, is a true legend. He is by far the best sportsman of England's recent history.
    Mate. Im afraid you`ve lost your marbles.

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  • 172. At 2:55pm on 22 Jun 2010, London79 wrote:

    Marsman, that bloke may be Greek but you son are from another planet.

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  • 173. At 3:58pm on 22 Jun 2010, reggiefromruncorn wrote:

    Why is Beckham in South Africa ?
    He's there to promote himself.
    [[[ BBC: shouldn't this blog be in "entertainment" or "celebrity" rather than in "Sport" ??? ]]]

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  • 174. At 4:04pm on 22 Jun 2010, Two_Footed_Challenge wrote:

    Marsman does have a point though - why is Beckham by far the best sportsman of England'srecent history? When you mention 'sportsman' that encompasses all sport surely? There have been plenty of English sports men and women who have achieved far more than Beckham has for England. It is just because he is the most recognisible that his name is trotted out when people talk of great English sports stars.

    Dont get me wrong - I thought he was a good footballer when he played for ManU and for a while at Madrid too - but he was never world class. And for the last few years he has been playing pub football in America.

    People talking about him being England Manager too are just laughable. What credentials has he got to be in charge of his country - none, apart from looking good in a suit. Hopefully no chance - but you never know with the English FA.

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  • 175. At 5:25pm on 22 Jun 2010, Alicanteharry wrote:

    Hi Marsman,
    I was looking for you on the McNulty blog and suddenly realised you would be here on an old blog still having a go at David Beckham. At least on this blog you can be on topic.

    I asked you on an earlier blog just why you have this pathological hatred for the boy David. I think Beckham was a very good player (not a legend but still very good) and he is now an excellent ambassador for English football.

    Mate you have a problem. I have looked at all your recent blogs and every one without exception is an insane venomous rant about everything Beckham WHY WHY WHY.

    Is it simple jealousy or does it go deeper I am really curious how any one can become so ridiculously consumed with such dislike for another person.

    You are clearly obsessed and probably require medical assistance

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  • 176. At 08:25am on 23 Jun 2010, davewelch wrote:

    I do not usually agree with media comments, but it looks like you have it spot on!
    Flying the flag and being proud to be English is no different to what anyone should expect, its a pity we English seem too conscious of other cultures,when every other nation puts theirs first!
    Good blog., well done.

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  • 177. At 09:51am on 23 Jun 2010, Nuntius7 wrote:

    Interesting comments - do we know if Beckham has been able to assist with the problems between Terry et al?

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  • 178. At 12:21pm on 23 Jun 2010, toki1971 wrote:


    I think you have issues mate!

    If you could pick any England world cup squad members from the last 30 years, what would your line-up be? I'm interested to see who you think is better than Beckham on the right!!!

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  • 179. At 12:44pm on 23 Jun 2010, toki1971 wrote:

    Following on from my 178 comment...
    For me the line-up would probably be:

    David Seaman

    Gary Neville Terry Butcher Tony Adams Stuart Pearce

    David Beckham Bryan Robson Paul Gascoigne Chris Waddle

    Gary Lineker Alan Shearer

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  • 180. At 6:34pm on 23 Jun 2010, pitbulterrorist wrote:

    Becks is a top player and if he was in the first two games i'm sure he would have set up some goals. He don't cross the ball to the box he passes it to you. Unfortunatly as with age the pace leaves you but he can still deliver the goods. Beckham is excelent just like this blog.

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  • 181. At 00:20am on 24 Jun 2010, Alex wrote:

    Nice Blog.... It makes a nice change to hear a journalist saying something positive about Mr. Beckham instead of the usual drivel about how much money he has and what he's spending it on!

    Unfortunately for the England team, and supporters, for years now the only man that has consistantly looked proud to be wearing the England shirt has been David Beckham. Sure there have been others, but generally only for there first couple of caps and then they just descend into the apathy of the rest of the team. It is this that led to the performances in the first two games of this world cup!
    Whatever you say aboout David Beckham, when he was wearing that England shirt he gave 100% everytime. It was rare to see him walking during a game, even when he was having a bad was still him that was trying his heart out. Something this present squad needs to pick up on in my humble opinion. It seems that he is still giving 100% for the team even now, when he must be bitterly disappointed that he can't be on the pitch!
    David you sir are a Legend, a role model and an English man that the rest of us should be proud of! I for one am very proud to know that you are a fellow countryman of mine, and i thank you for all your efforts past and present.

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  • 182. At 08:13am on 24 Jun 2010, jonofox wrote:

    This is what's going to happen in New Zealand when the All Whites beat Paraguay today!

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  • 183. At 6:17pm on 24 Jun 2010, Katherine K wrote:

    I really believe that David Beckham is one of England's greatest sporting Heroes off the pitch.

    In all honestly I wasn't a fan until after he was dropped by not only the Real Madrid Team but also England. The way he just put his head down and worked his socks off showed his immense strength of character. He really is a great role model for other football players in terms of his commitment.

    He's shown time and time again what a proud Englishman he is through his crucial role for the London 2012 Olympic games as well as his duties in helping the England 2018 bid.

    Here is a true sporting Ambassador that I think we should all be proud of. Those who think he is overrated as a player (Although you have to admit he is the greatest dead ball specialist.)should not let those beliefs blind them to the huge amount of work he does off the pitch for English indeed World Sport.

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  • 184. At 08:22am on 25 Jun 2010, ninjawarrior wrote:

    He plainly deserves a knighthood. Please get it sorted, Coalition.

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  • 185. At 2:34pm on 25 Jun 2010, privatesam wrote:

    Vacuous, bland, overexposed, over-rated, overpaid bore. He seems to qualify for a high opinion from the posters on this blog purely because he is a true “Englishman” and true “England fan” because he always gave 100%. Isn’t this what any self respecting Englishman would do in his circumstances. And now we’re meant to applaud for not going and making obscene amounts of money for doing nothing? His work rate seems fine – but millions of people work hard at their jobs – why is he better than anyone else.

    He never won anything for England. His greatest achievement – a goal against GREECE in a QUALIFIER – why were we in that situation in the first place.

    A role model?

    The man has cheated on his wife multiple times, dragged his family around the world chasing money, exposure and fame and all the while has yet to educate himself to the point where he can string a coherent sentence together.

    Beckham is pure celebrity and nothing else – white teeth, jewellery, sharp suits, good looks, loads of money, lots of talk about being “proud” but the character of a wet flannel.

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  • 186. At 12:46pm on 26 Jun 2010, Trev wrote:

    Excellent article.
    Being a 'gnarly' 45 year old, ex-county level player / local league manager I've never had much time the modern celebrity culture even less when footballers are the subject.
    Although never thought Beckham a player I would pay to watch (I've only ever seen a handful of those) he's certainly been one our best players of the last dozen years and is respected as such by enough foreign players and coaches who know more about the game than I do (and many commentators).
    I do however have total respect for the way Backham has conducted himself as a player and role model and would most definitely cross the room to shake his hand if I saw him in our local.
    Top bloke and Englishman.

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