Belfast Telegraph

Beckham snubs French farewell

By Sam Wallace

David Beckham will give Fabio Capello the brush off if there is an attempt to turn an England friendly with France into a fond ‘farewell’ for the former captain.

England will take on Laurent Blanc’s side at Wembley in November and, after calling time on Beckham’s career in a television interview ahead of Wednesday’s match against Hungary without telling the player himself, Capello intimated that he could say his goodbyes then.

Capello jumped the gun on announcing the end of Beckham's 115-cap, 14-year international career. However that just created more problems when Beckham announced that he had no intention of acquiescing to being retired by Capello.

Sources close to the 35-year-old said yesterday that if the Football Association announced that Beckham was to be called into the squad specifically for a farewell game he would resist. There will be an announcement this week from the FA that England will play a friendly against France on November 17 but there will be no attempts by the governing body to market it as the “Beckham farewell”.

Instead the FA is hoping that Capello's off-the-cuff announcement about Beckham — which was an attempt to be diplomatic about the player — will quietly be forgotten. Capello has now realised that his casual remark in a pre-recorded ITV interview broadcast before the match has caused unnecessary problems that were only exacerbated by the offer of a farewell game.

Beckham has been told by specialists that he should be fit to play by the start of October after rupturing his Achilles tendon. The player thinks that he can return before that.

Either way it is unlikely that Beckham will be released by the Los Angeles Galaxy for the November game against France because it clashes with potential play-off games in the MLS Season.

On Wednesday night, Capello ruled out the possibility that Beckham could fulfil the role of the still-yet-to-be-selected English coach whom the FA want its Italian manager to bring into his staff and groom as a possible successor. Beckham was part of the England staff during the World Cup this summer.

Capello said: “This is not a question for me. For me he is a fantastic man and a fantastic player. The relationship with him is really good. No [Beckham will not come back]. I change everything and we are going forward. You need young players and we need talented players. I think the players that played [against Hungary] are young and they have talent.”

The England manager has had a difficult five days and those close to him admit that it is his less than perfect grasp of English, after two years and eight months in the job, that lets him down when he tackles difficult issues.

Nevertheless, the Capello camp were bullish yesterday about the 64-year-old's future and believe that, despite the difficult time he endured at Wembley on Wednesday, he was determined to see the job through.

After two international retirements from his squad, the Beckham fiasco and a narrow 2-1 win over Hungary it did look on Wednesday night as if the Capello regime was finally coming apart. The England manager did not emerge once from his dugout during the game.

However, the word from Capello yesterday was that he was encouraged by the new players in the squad and is prepared to see out the difficult times ahead.

Asked how long it would take the youngsters to establish themselves, he said: “It depends on the talent. With some players it is immediately. I think Adam Johnson is one of those talents. Gibbs is probably another.

“This is the future of England absolutely. These players were with us for the first friendly game. They are the future.”

Belfast Telegraph


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