Beckham: England's loss could be Galaxy's gain

MASON - England manager Fabio Capello imagines a farewell wave to the fans in a friendly will mark the end of David Beckham's international career but his loss could turn out to be Major League Soccer's gain.

While the 35-year-old LA Galaxy midfielder refuses to retire from the England setup-- meaning a farewell match is unlikely to happen - his thoughts are firmly on getting back on the field and putting his Achilles tendon injury behind him.

Capello's comments that Beckham was no longer part of his England plans and his hastily announced proposal for a goodbye friendly for the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player have been met with an icy response from the Beckham camp.

The evergreen player's rationale is a simple one - if you are not retiring, you do not have a retirement party.

The celebration Beckham wants this season is on the pitch with his Galaxy team mates at the MLS Cup final in November.

They lead the Western Conference and are all but assured of a place in the playoffs and a shot at their first title since the former England captain joined them four seasons ago.

"We've put ourselves in a good position, the guys have been working hard. I am looking forward to going back in there," Beckham said after training on Wednesday.

Without any England commitments, there will be no need for him to endure gruelling transatlantic flights for friendly games and dashes back to the U.S to play for Galaxy.

Beckham's time with LA has been partly hampered by injuries and his desire to play for his country which also led to him going on loan to AC Milan to impress Capello with his form.

Now he can focus purely on getting fit, recapturing his form and helping Bruce Arena's team to the title.


Capello's comments in a television interview came on the very day that Beckham, whose dream of taking part in this year's World Cup finals in South Africa was wrecked by an Achilles tendon injury, returned to the training ground with Galaxy.

The midfielder is aiming to return to action in October and then to play a full role in the playoff campaign.

His lay-off with the injury he suffered on March 14, when playing on loan for Milan, has left him burning with enthusiasm to return to what he loves most - playing football.

"It has made me realise how much I love the game again, and how much I missed playing," he said. "Obviously, I still love the game or I wouldn't be doing it at my age as much as I am, and as passionately as I do."

If there is any scepticism surrounding how much Beckham cares about winning with the Galaxy it should have been laid to rest by his performances at the end of last season.

Beckham was far from fully fit in the play-off games and when it came to the final against Real Salt Lake, the Londoner played through the pain barrier with a swollen right ankle.

Certainly his Galaxy team mates are backing Beckham to come back strongly from his injury.

"I've said all along that you never want to count David out," defender Todd Dunivant said. "Anytime anyone has done that in his career, he's proven them wrong."