Monday, March 15, 2010
Beckham's England career over
Harry Harris, Football Correspondent
When David Beckham broke down in front of the cameras at the San Siro, it was not a sign of pain, or of the sheer agony inflicted when his Achilles tendon snapped, but of the realisation that his career might be over and that he will almost certainly miss out on appearing in a fourth successive World Cup for England.
• Forum: Who will replace Beckham?
Beckham's playing career is far more important than any other aspect of his life -- apart from his family. No matter how many cars he has parked in his multitude of homes around the world, irrespective of his assortment of lucrative endorsements, no matter how many tens of millions he has in the bank, the only thing that matters to him right now is the threat to his career and the end of his World Cup dream.
Beckham will not give up easily; there is no greater fighter when it comes to his career. He will go under the surgeon's knife, not concerned about straightening his leg so he can walk properly in later life, but on how successful the operation can be in restoring him to the playing field.
However, the chances of Beckham's resuming that playing career at the highest level must be remote.
Love him or loathe him, he has been good for English football, an icon, someone whom kids can look up to. He has overcome adversity before, when he was sent off against Argentina in 1998 and ridiculed and persecuted on his return, and that will provide him with the strength and belief that he might even be able to do something similar, albeit in vastly different circumstances, yet again.
Yes, he can play again, I am sure, but to regain peak fitness, acquire match sharpness and then play again for the likes of AC Milan is no more than an outside chance at his age.
Playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy is possible. Playing for England again? Well, that can be discounted.
The future for Beckham will be in club ownership, rather than management. He has never shown much interest in management, although he loves coaching the kids and will now broaden his involvement in his academies.
He has an option as part of his MLS contract with the Galaxy that he can purchase a football franchise in the States, either an existing one or a new one, and despite his recent rejection of links with the Red Knights' takeover attempts at Old Trafford, he would love to own a chunk of his beloved Manchester United one day.
For now, though, he will cling to every last ounce of a chance he could resume his playing career. Sadly, though, we may have already seen the last time that David Beckham ever pulls on an England shirt again.