Why the Beckham circus must go on

by Nicholas Grounds

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Brand Beckham rolls into Milan

This weekend, David Beckham was unveiled as an AC Milan player during the Rossoneri’s 5-1 home victory over Udinese. While it is yet another example of Brand Beckham embarking on a new project, as the boy from Leytonstone further cements his status as a global icon, the move is essential for Beckham the player. The star will be looking to regain his match-fitness and prove to Fabio Capello he is worthy of a place in the next England squad for the qualifier against Ukraine. If selected, he will pick up his 108th cap and in doing so equal Bobby Moore’s outfield record.

Much has been said and written regarding Beckham’s unerring quest to continue to represent his country. There are some claiming his desire to clock up as many caps as possible is to reach yet another milestone, to add a further achievement and celebrity, and that his selection by Capello in recent qualifiers has been purely for sentimental reasons. But why should he give up his dream of representing his country? His services to our nation, both on and off the field, not to mention his truly amicable charity work, places Beckham in a category that few can be associated with. He is a great and as long as he is fit and playing well in Milan, surely he deserves to oust Moore whilst there is the opportunity to do so.

But is this the right thing to do? It may be for humanitarian reasons, but is it the best thing for England? There is no doubting that very few can strike the ball as good as Beckham, and certainly there are few better who can deliver a cross with as much menace and accuracy. However, Capello’s decision to play him eight times, and more recently as a cameo substitute, could be called in for scrutiny. There are plenty of talented young right-sided players waiting in the wings (no pun intended). Theo Walcott, David Bentley, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Aaron Lennon, James Milner and Ashley Young will all be looking to replace the monopoly Beckham occupies on the right flank long-term.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether a fully fit Beckham is chosen in April ahead of these talented Premier League players. Certainly Walcott has done enough recently to deserve his selection. However, with the young Arsenal man suffering with a dislocation of the shoulder, it looks as though it will be a fight between Beckham and the remaining candidates for the number 7 shirt. Bentley is only just beginning to find form at Whit Hart Lane since his big money move from Blackburn, as is Lennon; and the two certainly look like they are much more comfortable under Harry Redknapp than Juande Ramos. Wright-Phill ips has always flattered to deceive in an England shirt, Milner must cement himself in the Villa line-up first and Young, whilst impressing recently for the Villans, is still a work in progress. Come April, if Beckham’s move to Milan is proving to be a success, I know who my money will be on to fill in on that right hand side.

Although Beckham has had his fair share of criticism during his career, he has always managed to rise above it. Rebbecca whose? France 98 saw him become one of England’s most despised individuals. He responded by helping United win an unprecedented treble the following season, and the next year saw him appointed England captain by the stand-in manager Peter Taylor for a friendly in Italy. He has since shone in Madrid, and despite the America adventure not entirely going to plan, he has certainly boosted the profile of ‘soccer’ across the pond and will continue to do so whilst out there.

David Beckham is all set for his next challenge, and while his people will be looking to ensure the Italian job runs smoothly, the pretenders will be waiting in the wings. Perhaps Trademark Theo, Product Shaun, Label Lennon or even Variety Young may be the next marketing schemes to tackle to global market. But for now, the Beckham circus must go on. Golden Balls for 108? For now, it is a nobrainer and, more crucially for Brand Beckham, a certainty.

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    good article. The Beckham brand has revolutionized football as we know it. George Best may have been the original rock n roll footballer but Becks was the first global footballer with a brand…

    No one has turned his career round better then he has and respect goes to out to him. He may not be the sharpest tool when it comes to interviews but he has made a fantastic career both on and off the pitch.

  • Jamie Farrier

    Seconded, really well-written article that one, top work indeed and nicely balanced.

    What I really admire in Beckham (especially when he was captain) was you can never knock his commitment to England. In a time when footballers are easily slaughtered for lacking national pride, Becks is always Exhibit A when it comes to the passion of play for your country.

    The move to Milan will cement his place as a true legend of a game – his career will be remembered as a tour de force of the big three European leagues and a mark of his global success in playing in the US.

    I for one look forward to having Beckham ready to play some part, great or small, in the 2010 World Cup. While we encourage younger players to break through, there’s nothing like having the masters still in your team to mix it up a bit and have the potential to produce moments of pure genius. Write of Beckham at your peril.

  • Dave

    Have people forgotten Beckham’s World Cup antics and his propensity to collect cards at vital points in vital games? He didn’t even have the balls to take a penalty in a possible shootout, asking to be subbed about 5 minutes from the end of the game and nursing a limp that most players play through. Beckham as a world class player is way past his prime. There is no way he deserves to be anywhere near Moore’s outfield record, let alone equal or, God forbid, beat it.

    Call it a day, Dave. Stick with the Galaxy where you still “look” to be a cut above the rest and let the new blood come through for England and take us deep in the tournaments.

  • Jamie Farrier

    Are you seriously going to remember Beckham like that Dave?

    His sending off in France 98 was silly, but unfair. Simeone completely overplayed the moment and he was made scapegoat by a public and media mindlessly baying for someone’s blood.

    And don’t say he doesn’t have balls to take penalties – World Cup 2002 he’s got the courage to step up against none other than Argentina and slot home what proved to be the winner.

    If it weren’t for him, we would never have played in World Cup 2002 in the first place – nobody in the world other than Beckham could’ve scored THAT goal against Greece. We needed him to bail us out against Ecuador 4 years later.

    The statement ‘Beckham is a world class player past his prime’ was wailed from the press the moment McClaren reselected him. What did he do? Set up THREE of four England goals in the space of two games. And he did the business this year under Capello.

    I really thought the naysayers would’ve shut up by now, but clearly there will always be some who will say he’s too old over and over again. And mark my words, he’ll continue to prove you wrong over and over again.

  • Dave

    You’re not his agent are you, Jamie?

  • Jamie Farrier

    No, not after the restraining order.

    Just think Becks has had a pretty bad nick throughout his career and it’s worth defending him now, because he’ll be a proper legend for many many years to come.

  • lynn

    i’m with you jamie, beckham is far too good to be set aside and his commitment to playing for england cannot be overstated. History will be far kinder to david than tony!!!

  • lynn

    ……and a fabulous role model with integrity for young boys (and girls!)

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