Capello names Beckham England captain

May 31, 2008

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- David Beckham was designated as captain for England's game against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, an honor for the midfielder whose international career appeared over after the World Cup.

This will be the first time Beckham has captained the team while playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Fabio Capello announced the move Saturday and has now chosen four different captains in his four games since becoming coach. The exhibition game Sunday will be Beckham's 102nd appearance for England.

A permanent captain will not be appointed until England's 2010 World Cup qualifiers in September against Andorra and Croatia. Capello said Beckham is a candidate.

"Never say never," the coach said. "This is a new moment for the England team."

Capello's other three captains were Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. Terry wore the armband for Wednesday's 2-0 victory over the United States at Wembley, where Beckham played the first half.

Beckham already has led his country 57 times. The last time he captained England was at the 2006 World Cup, where the team lost in the quarterfinals to Portugal after a penalty-kick shootout.

His international career appeared done at 94 appearances when coach Steve McClaren dropped the star, who was then with Real Madrid. But Beckham helped Madrid win the Spanish league title and McClaren changed his mind.

England failed to qualify for the European Championship, which starts June 7 in Austria and Switzerland, and Capello has had only exhibitions since he took over in January.

"Tomorrow will be very important for me because it's the last game away from home," Capello said. "I want to know if some players have the confidence away from England."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press