italian serie a

Beckham on bench for first Milan league game

January 10, 2009

On-loan AC Milan midfielder David Beckham will be a substitute for his first Serie A game at AS Roma on Sunday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, who is spending two months at Milan to stay in the England reckoning, has not played a competitive game since the end of the U.S. regular season in October.

"Beckham is ready to play even if he has been out of action for two months. But it is therefore difficult to give him a starting spot on Sunday in the match against Roma," Ancelotti told a news conference on Saturday.

Beckham played the first half of the 1-1 friendly draw with Hamburg in Dubai on Tuesday. Third-placed Milan are returning to Serie A action after a three-week midseason break.

The 33-year-old Englishman and his representatives have consistently said he will return to the Galaxy in early March for the new Major League Soccer (MLS) season. However, Ancelotti would be happy to keep him if the situation changed.

"He is ready to give an important contribution and we at Milan are happy he will be with us, if only for two months," the coach said.

"If then he wants to stay with us, it would be great but the contract he has with Milan is clear and I believe he will respect it."

Ancelotti said he had not yet heard from England coach Fabio Capello, whose in-form side play Spain in a friendly in February when Beckham is aiming to equal Bobby's Moore outfield record of 108 caps.

"If he wants a report I would only have positive things to say (about Beckham) because I have trained many players but it is not easy to find one with the professionalism Beckham is showing," he added.