Whether you consider him one of England’s all time best players or just one of England’s all time best marketed players there is no denying that David Beckham has left his mark on English football. Supporting England is about moments rather than trophies; it has to be, if it wasn’t there would be even less enjoyment in it than there currently is. His goal against Greece was as close to a feeling of winning anything I’ve ever had supporting England and his work ethic for our national side was not only admirable but it exposed the attitudes of some of the less passionate players. He has always given everything for his country and has never retired his services should any national coach ever want them. However at the age of thirty-six has England simply out-grown their has-been-hero?
Anything left to offer?
England’s most capped outfield player has had an England career that has spanned fifteen years and for the vast majority of people Beckham has nothing left to offer to on the international squad. However the feeling is definitely not shared by all; with Beckham’s contract due to run out soon at LA Galaxy there is certainly no shortage of interest in his signature. In fact I can’t think of any other player who, at such an age, had so much interest from top teams. PSG and Tottenham are just two of the clubs that have been vying for his signature and I know that many will say that they just want him for the publicity but I’m not so sure.
The same thing was said when he went to Milan on loan but Beckham proved them wrong. He was well used and was extremely useful to the Italian club, he even bagged himself a few goals. Yes, that was a few years ago and he has worsened since then but Beckham has adapted his game, in the way that Ryan Giggs has, to depend less on physicality and more on technique.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said:
“I’d welcome him with open arms. He’s definitely still good enough to play in the Premier League. His game was never about pace so whether he’s quick or not isn’t an issue…he’d be an asset for any club, that’s for sure.”
Arsene Wenger has echoed similar sentiments ever since the former England captain trained with the Gunners to keep fit in 2008. Wenger has always said that regardless of his physical state his natural talent and professional attitude makes him worthwhile wherever he may be. And I agree, especially in an England dressing room that lacks harmony I think he would be a valuable asset. However I do not think he should or will be taken to the European Championships. The Olympics however is a different matter.
What next for Beckham?
Well the Olympics is the obvious option and almost certainly his last realistic chance on the international stage, even if it is the international version of the Carling Cup. Whether or not Stuart Pearce believes Beckham has enough quality and experience to make up for his dwindling years is another matter.
At club level I think it would be fitting for one of England’s most famous sons to have one last hurrah in his home country. The iconic midfielder has been a bit of a nomad for the past eight years and if a club could guarantee him playing time it would be fitting for him to test himself in our league once more.
Whilst our international team has almost certainly outgrown him I don’t think our culture of football ever will. Beckham in his peak was the archetypal English player: hard working, good technique and suited to a 4-4-2. He has done more for the English game on the global stage than any other English player for a long time and has shown a commitment and desire that we will be lucky to see in future players.