Beckham says he'll play vs. D.C. United

August 14, 2007

CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham said he'll play for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night.

The English superstar practiced Tuesday for the first time since joining the team a month ago. He appeared to move well laterally and got off a few long kicks toward the end of a scrimmage.

"Good to at least get out on the field and have a bit of practice," he said.

The 32-year-old midfielder's nagging left ankle injury isn't completely healed, although Beckham pronounced himself "about 78 percent" ready to go.

"It's not perfect yet, but I think I can at least play half a game tomorrow," he said, wiping sweat from his face. "It still feels unstable to a certain extent, but it feels stable enough to actually play in a game and see how far I can take it."

Beckham predicted he could play 45 minutes, which would be welcome news to Galaxy fans, who have only seen their new superstar in action at home for 16 minutes in his July 21 debut against Chelsea.

"I can at least play half a game tomorrow, which is important for me and it's important for the team that I at least get on the pitch because it's been quite a while since I arrived," he said.

Beckham said the biggest remaining issue is his ankle's strength, although he still has slight pain in his Achilles tendon and under the ankle.

"It's still a case of seeing how it reacts and seeing that it doesn't flare up on the day off, which it did the other night when I played," he said.

Beckham has yet to start for the Galaxy since signing a five-year, $32.5 million contract to leave one of the world's top leagues and give the sport a boost in the United States.

He made his Major League Soccer debut last Thursday during the team's four-game road trip but was back on the bench for Sunday's game at New England.

The Galaxy host D.C. United in the SuperLiga tournament semifinals Wednesday night. The teams met last week in a MLS game. The Galaxy lost 1-0 and Beckham played the final 21 minutes.

The only suspense Wednesday will be whether Beckham starts or comes off the bench, as he did last week.

"He's not going to last the game out because of his fitness level," coach Frank Yallop said. "Do you want to start the game with him or do you want to end the game with him?

"We ended the game with him in D.C. and we started to actually put them under quite a bit of pressure. Maybe we can think about that. I'd rather maybe have him at the end of the game," Yallop said.

Still up in the air is Beckham's status with England for its Aug. 22 exhibition against Germany.

He said that if plays Wednesday and in a MLS game Saturday at New York, then he would join the England team.

"I don't want to be meeting up and not being able to take part in the game because obviously that means another player doesn't get the opportunity to play," Beckham said. "If I'm right, I'll be meeting up."

England coach Steve McClaren will announce the roster Friday.

He has holes to fill after Wayne Rooney broke his foot Sunday and will miss two months. And, like Beckham, captain John Terry is injured.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press