Shilton backing Capello's Beckham omission

February 3, 2008

Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton has backed Fabio Capello's decision to leave David Beckham out of the friendly international against Switzerland next week.

Beckham is one appearance short of winning his 100th cap for his country but Capello left the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder out of his first squad because of concerns over his match fitness following several months without a competitive game.

Many Barclays Premier League bosses have already urged Capello to hand Beckham his landmark cap but Shilton believes the decision to axe him was a show of strength by the new England boss.

Shilton, who won 125 caps for his country, told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme: 'Capello was right on this occasion. I for one would love to see David get his 100th cap but Capello has set his stall out.

'His first priority is to get a squad that's capable of winning the World Cup and he's been known for his strict attitude towards players.

'It would have looked a bit weak from his point of view to have included David in terms of his preparation for the game. If it had been any other player, I don't even think he would have even considered it.

'Capello has not been intimidated by any outside forces to include David in the squad. He's not completely shut the door but it is going to be very difficult from now on for David.'

Shilton believes Capello is right to select players based on form, rather than reputation.

He added: 'It is not a circus, you don't give caps away. I like to think I earned every one of mine. I don't think David would like to be given his 100th cap just for the sake of it.

'You have got to earn them. David went to the United States and it was his decision. He maybe thought his England career was over anyway and it was a good opportunity to expand his interests. But then when he got back into the England squad, maybe it backfired a bit on him.

'The door is not completely closed but it will be more difficult because Capello will get younger players in his squad and he has to look two years along the line.

'David has got to get fit in the States and be playing really well, so you never know.

'I certainly hope he does get his 100th cap but it has to be on merit - you can't just give it to him.'