David Beckham has laid the responsibility for England’s poor World Cup campaign squarely at the door of the players — and insists coach Fabio Capello did all he could to ensure the squad was well prepared.
The 35-year-old's dreams of participating in a fourth World Cup finals were shattered in March when he sustained injury while on loan to AC Milan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
However, Beckham was invited along to South Africa as part of the England group by Capello and sat on the bench for what turned out to be a wretched campaign, which ended with 4-1 defeat to Germany in the last 16.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star saw at first hand the work done by Capello to prepare the team and insists their campaign fell down purely because of the players failing to perform on the pitch.
“[Capello] did everything that he could have done,” said the midfielder.
“He prepared us right. He worked the players to the right amount and he set everything up for the players, but obviously the players know it was disappointing.
“We didn't perform and as players you know that — you know when you don't perform, you know when you don't play well.
“The manager can do so much and then it's down to the players. The players go on to the pitch and they know if they don't perform they don't win games.
“The players are honest about
that but it's not about individuals, it's not about how individuals play — it's about how we played as a team. It's a cliche but you win as a team and you lose as a team.
“You have to take the good days and enjoy those, and the bad days you learn from and the team will do that because we've got a lot of young players.”
It has been suggested Beckham could take charge of the national side in future, but he is not interested in such talk at this stage in his career and cannot foresee that changing down the line.
“I must admit it's something I've never been interested in,” he added.
“It's not a passion of mine to be a manager of a football team.”
And Beckham’s former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs believes England's failings at the World Cup were down to the fact they did not have a team ethic.
Former Wales midfielder Giggs said: “England had great individual players but at the World Cup that they didn't play as a team.
“You see that so many times. You have individuals and you try to move their positions, and it just doesn't quite work. It just doesn't come off. And that was the case with England.”
Meanwhile, Beckham's old club Manchester United have inadvertently revealed their new kit two days ahead of its official launch.
The club have been trying to keep the new shirts under wraps — but the United reserve side donned them for a friendly against Northern Premier League Division One outfit Curzon Ashton on Tuesday night.
The kit is plain red with a white fly-away collar, much like the one worn by the Ron Atkinson-managed United in the early Eighties and bears the logo of new club sponsor Aon, the American financial giants who will back United for the next four years.