Belfast Telegraph

Sorry Manchester United need the desire of David Beckham, who used to be a footballer you know

By Steven Beacom

Yesterday MUTV became part of my Sky package. I can hear many of you screaming "What's happened to you Beacom? You have gone to the dark side." In contrast Manchester United fans will be roaring "About time Stevie boy."

The thing is bringing MUTV into my home actually had nothing to do with Manchester United.

It was because the station, rather bizarrely, was showing Northern Ireland's friendly in Cyprus live last night.

Current Northern Ireland and United star Jonny Evans, on the injured list at present, and recently retired Northern Ireland great and former United striker David Healy were in the studio offering insight while ex-United hero Sammy McIlroy, who played for and managed Northern Ireland, provided co-commentary.

Maybe when Northern Ireland play Luis Suarez's Uruguay in a pre-World Cup friendly on May 30, LFC TV will broadcast the 90 minutes with Liverpool's Ulster born boss Brendan Rodgers providing the analysis!

MUTV could start a trend.

Incidentally, having originally been told by Sky over the phone that I'd have to pay for MUTV for TWO months, because they needed a month's notice to switch it off, I was then informed that being from Northern Ireland I got the station for free and all that had been required to take up this offer was for me to ask to have it activated. Who knew? Anyway the first MUTV images that hit my living room were of David Beckham scoring lots of goals for United.

He's been involved in so many other activities lately, from modelling to buying a soccer franchise in the States and now he's becoming a TV presenter, that I almost forgot he was once a footballer, and an exceptional one at that.

Most of the 85 goals he scored for United were magnificent. True, some goalkeepers clearly couldn't see the ball for all the stardust in front of them when Becks was taking a free-kick, but even so that right foot of his was like a magic wand when he waved at a dead ball.

Beckham didn't just score goals, he scored big goals that made the difference in championship races. He was also king of the assist with his accurate crosses laying chances on a plate for team-mates. Let's face it, Becks made Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole look better than they really were.

Although Sir Alex Ferguson and Posh Spice's other half had an infamous run-in, which inevitably led to the player's departure to Real Madrid, the great Scot could never have faulted the Englishman for his effort on the pitch.

He put it in. He showed the 'hunger and desire' that Roy Carroll, another Northern Ireland man formerly with United, says the current Red Devils lacked against Olympiakos in the Champions League last week.

Beckham may have become a brand, but once upon a time he was a brilliant player.

United could do with their current stars producing the class, commitment and character he displayed when he wore the red shirt.

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