Landon Donovan was so impressed by David Beckham's impact on the Los Angeles Galaxy squad he gave him the club captaincy.
Beckham wore the captain's armband at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, on Wednesday night as he made a dramatic first start for his new team, scoring the opening goal and laying on the second for Donovan in a 2-0 SuperLiga semi-final victory over DC United.
'Landon asked to speak with me and I'm not going to say everything that he said because obviously it is personal,' Beckham.
'He said that it would give the team a big lift for him to hand me the armband and I am very honoured.
'I am very honoured that he felt the need to give me the armband and the fact that it would lift the players and the team.
'Hopefully I can do that but you saw the performance of Landon tonight. He's a great player and one of the best in this country and one of the best in the league.'
Donovan explained his decision to relinquish the captaincy was a simple one.
'I'm not stupid,' he said. 'He's been a captain for England, one of the better teams in the world.
'For me, it's not as important to wear the armband. I'm going to play the same way and act the same way towards guys whether I have that or not.
'I think it made him immediately part of the team in a real sense, not just on the field. I think guys looked at him differently, and he could say things to guys differently.
'I told him that if he was ready for it, I thought it was appropriate that he wear it and that I thought it would help us right now.'
Donovan believes the move produced immediate results as the Galaxy took on DC United for the second time in a week.
Last Thursday in Washington DC, the LA side had gone down meekly to a 1-0 Major League Soccer defeat, with Beckham unable to prompt a change as a 72nd-minute substitute.
On Wednesday night, Donovan saw a marked turnaround under Beckham's captaincy.
'He's a leader on the field and brings a lot out of everybody, including myself.
'When he's out there, he's so competitive. 'Edson, your ball, win it!', 'Abel, your ball, win it!'
'He likes to compete, he likes to win. If that's him at who-knows-what-percent of his real self, I can't wait until he's fully fit and his ankle is fully healthy.'
As for Beckham's 27th-minute curling free-kick that opened the scoring, Donovan added: 'It was something special.
'We all watch it on TV and you're like 'it can't be that good'. When I turned around I went 'Are you kidding me?' Unbelievable.'
Galaxy are now preparing for Saturday night's MLS encounter with the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium, where 55,000 tickets have already been sold.
Head coach Frank Yallop believes Beckham's performance against DC United will mean the England star will take the field this weekend with his place in the Galaxy squad fully cemented.
'We've all been waiting for that free kick,' Yallop said. 'It was good to see him on the field in the jersey and start the game. We feel he's part of us now that he's played.
'To get a goal to cap it off, it's a dream start for David. I'm very excited for him.'