Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Beckham to captain England

In a shock move, Capello picks David Beckham as the England captain for the friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Why is this so surprising?
Beckham voluntarily stepped away from the captain's armband when England exited the last World Cup. Speculation then was whether Beckham would play for England, there was no question of him captaining the side again.
So why has this happened now?
Capello is no sentimentalist, so that's not the story - remember that he did not recall Beckham for his 100th cap at the earliest opportunity... However Capello does have an insight into the Beckham mentality, he dropped Beckham at Real Madrid, was big enough to recall him to the squad and then benefitted from Beckham at his best enabling Madrid to win their domestic league.
The speculation now is whether this means that Beckham is considered as part of the plans for the next World Cup - if so, does Capello see Beckham as the natural captain of England for the foreseeable future?

Beckham or Bentley?

No, nothing to do with cars....despite Beckham's extensive collection...
This is about whether David Bentley is ready to step up and replace David Beckham in the England squad. Or probably more accurately, whether David Beckham is ready to be replaced.
A lot of interest has surrounded the progression of David Bentley through the ranks of the England under 21 side and into the senior squad, as to all intents and purposes, Bentley appears to be a natural replacement for Beckham. He plays on the right, he uses the same peculiar foot-shape that Beckham uses to such deadly effect, and he can hit a free-kick. In many ways, he looks very much as though he will be a perfect like-for-like replacement.
Is this the sum of Beckham's contribution to the England squad?
In my opinion, no - David Beckham has vast experience of football at the very highest level and (when fit and fired-up) can offer a form of leadership even without the captains armband. Fellow players are encouraged to see Beckham charge around the field, and want to emulate his determination and belief.
David Bentley IS a superb talent and has many of the tricks that would make you mistake him for Beckham on many occasions. He is extremely effective for Blackburn, but so far this has not translated into an eye-catching performance in an England shirt. When Bentley has played for England he has looked ordinary, something that Beckham rarely does.
Bentley for the future certainly when he has developed his own game a little more, but ready to replace Beckham - not yet...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

England 2 USA 0

First half:
Defoe won the chance to play up front with Wayne Rooney in the first of three games for England before the World Cup qualifiers. The England team was strong, but showing some tiredness after the end of a long season. It was a cautious start with Beckham struggling to make a real impact and the team in general getting bogged down, with the USA team doing well to intercept forward balls intended to cut through the defence.
There were plenty of chances for Beckham to show his free-kick skills, combining with Gerard in the tenth minute to get the ball in the net, but some time after the ref had already blown for the kick to be retaken.
For large sections of the first half, the two teams canceled each other out in a packed but un-animated Wembley stadium. England started to show the upper hand as the half progressed with Beckham skying a snatched shot on 18 minutes. Rooney looked lively and beat his marker on 22 minutes but the ball into the box was behind the wave of attacking players.
It was the 25th minute before the USA showed any intent of assaulting the England goal, but the uppper hand firmly belonged to England. At 30 minutes the game looked becalmed at sea, but 7 minutes later, another free kick taken by Beckham on the right found the head of John Terry in the box, giving him the chance to exorcise the demons of the Champions League penalty shoot out by beating the Tim Howard in the US goal for the first goal of the match.
This goal livened up the game and more pressure followed, mostly from England, but with more visible effort from the US. Defoe showed too much speed for the US defence and was dragged down on more than one occasion providing more free-kick opportunities.
Second half:
On half-time, Beckham was replaced by Bentley, and with both teams now having something to fight for, the game started to be more entertaining. After ten minutes of the second half, Barry came on for Lampard and Glen Johnson for Wes Brown. Minutes later, Barry unlocked the defence with a through-ball to Gerard who calmly passed it into the net for England's second goal of the night.
The US looked unconvincing with shots from a long way out with not much hope of beating James in the England goal. More subs on 68 mins Defoe off and Crouch on with England increasing in confidence as the minutes tick by. England showed some nice touches as they progressed the passing game. Rooney picked up a yellow card on 75 minutes after a second rash sliding challenge, but the US wasted the resulting free kick.
On 77 minutes there were more subs with Joe Cole coming on for Wayne Rooney, and on 81 minutes, Ashley Cole was replaced by Wayne Bridge. England soaked up some US pressure and remained comfortable with their two-goal lead.

Conclusions: Beckham can still make a contribution, the partnership of Rooney and Defoe shows some promise. Gerard richly deserved his man of the match award despite being played out of his best position.

LA Galaxy 0 Colorado 1

The Galaxy fielded a weakened side in the opening U.S. Open Cup match, due to international obligations (Beckham and Donovan play each other tonight at Wembley) but not the 'reserve' side that many teams often out into these games. Colorado on the other hand fielded many players that are not regulars, and from the start were under pressure from the Galaxy.

The Galaxy looked the superior team for all but the last 10 minutes but didn't take their chances, and in the 82nd minute, Colorado headed the only goal of the match ending the Galaxy cup run at the first hurdle.

Beckham will be out of contention whilst on international duty and will also miss the next game against Toronto on Saturday.
Come back for more on the England v USA game....

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Los Angeles 3 Kansas City 1

In a truly thrilling game, Kansas opened the scoring late in the first half with a stunning left-foot strike from Claudio Lopez. The score at half-time was 1- 0 to Kansas, but this was a game that looked open enough to go either way. Early in the second half, Donovan took a tumble and was awarded a spot-kick, though for me, this was a soft penalty and Kansas could have a case to feel aggrieved at the decision.
Buddle built on this platform by adding another on 74 minutes. The game continued at pace, with Kansas going all out for the last set-piece of the match. The Kansas keeper came up to add extra pressure for a corner kick. This plan fell apart as the ball dropped out of the danger area at Beckhams feet, with the Kansas keeper still in the Galaxy penalty box. Beckham carried the ball for a few yards before he decided to have a crack at punishing the Kansas keeper. Still a good ten yards or more short of the half-way line, David Beckham fired the ball into the middle of the Kansas goal from an outrageous distance with not a Kansas player in sight. Providing the crowning glory to an impressive personal and team performance, Beckhams goal took the score to 3-1, with Beckham now on four for the season.

Friday, 23 May 2008

England v USA

Ahead of England's friendlies against USA and Trinidad and Tobago, the England squad has seen two changes.

Michael Owen and Jermaine Jenas reported sick, Owen is out for both games.

The nine players from Manchester United and Chelsea who were involved in the dramatic Champions League Final in Moscow on Wednesday evening, will report for England on Saturday.

David Beckham will report on Sunday, after LA Galaxy's game with Kansas City on Saturday.
United States coach Bob Bradley has named eight England-based players for the match against England next week:

Clint Dempsey
Carlos Bocanegra
Eddie Johnson
Benny Feilhaber
Eddie Lewis
Jonathan Spector
Tim Howard
Jay DeMerit
DaMarcus Beasley

The FA

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Beckham could be fined for Serioux reaction

To misquote John McEnroe "You cannot be Seriuoux!"...
After the Dallas match Beckham was asked why he reacted so badly to the wild challenge from Serioux. Beckhams reply 'He tried to break my leg' seems perfectly justified in my opinion and anyone else who is not hopelessly biased who saw the challenge must be aware that this is exactly the sort of challenge from which many a footballer does not get up from in a hurry if they just happen to have their weight on the leg in question.
Serioux is reputed to have muttered (childishly) 'Welcome to the MLS..'. Well perhaps Mr Serioux did not realise that EVEN in the MLS, you will actually be sent off for a challenge like that, and if he did realise it - what was his point? Welcome to the league where if I am losing 4 - 1, I might just do something really stupid and get myself sent off...
Since he was red-carded himself in the World Cup against Argentina, Beckham knows how to ride a challenge, get a man booked and if needs be, get a man sent off. In the modern game, these are (sadly) essential tools for survival, especially where so much jealousy is on public display.
He is also used to the crowd getting on his back, and like with all pro sportsmen it rarely bothers him and often improves the resolve to perform at a higher level. In retrospect, considering the 'heat' of the moment, and the heat of the day David arguably deserved his caution as he did nothing to take the sting out of the situation (not that I would have behaved anything like as calmly...). I can understand the 'shhh' gesture at the Dallas crowd who had been booing him the entire match after he set up Buddle for his hat-trick and Galaxy's fifth goal, though it was little petty. I think it unlikely that the investigation now being conducted into his behaviour is going to come up with anything more than a apologetic wrist-slap... even the officials have to see a potentially leg-breaking challenge as just cause for some kind of outcry.
The moral of the story is that players should pay each other a little respect and play like professionals, 'cos they sure as hell earn enough for the privilege of being pro sportsmen - in this instance, it applies to both players - but one considerably more than the other...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Galaxy 5 Dallas 1

What a contrast with the last game... Cronin back in goal, Donovan back up front and Beckham seemingly fresh and fit again.
Both sides began with intent, FC Dallas looking to expose Galaxy's weak defence with the long ball and doing just that. Galaxy playing a more European game with a patient build up with a lot of short passes, making them look the better team in the opening 20 minutes. On 24 minutes Chris Klein opens the scoring for Galaxy, coolly converting a chance to slot the ball past the keeper in open play. Just 6 minutes later Buddle takes on the defence bamboozling them with his close control before slamming a left-foot shot past the keeper for Galaxy's second. Just minutes later and Donovans chip-cross gets deflected past the keeper by a defender for 3 - 0, and with only 39 minutes on the clock Buddle gets a second scrambling the ball into the net from a corner taking galaxy into half-time with a seemingly unassailable lead and winning on merit.
Cronin had his fair share of work to do at times and proved himself equal to anything that Dallas could throw at him in the first half.
The second half started badly for LA with Dallas getting a vital goal back, but despite the increased pressure, Galaxy continued to play a patient game and both sides had chances to add goals to the scoresheet. The game showed some ill-will when a donkey disguised as a FC Dallas player called Serioux got onto the pitch and tried to kick Beckham clean out of the stadium. Serioux got a red card for his trouble and Beckham got a yellow for his reaction (not least of which was to blow a kiss and wave Serioux off the field). Both sides can be thankful that the officials got involved to keep the players apart...
Beckham let his feet do the talking by setting up Buddle for his hat-trick, Galaxy going 5-1 up in the game. Over-all you can't fault the performance or the result, Galaxy are looking very good today.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Whitecaps 2 Galaxy 1

From what I saw of the game, this was a woeful performance with little control being exhibited by either team. Galaxy lacked any real direction up front and seemed to miss Donovan who was out through injury.
Whitecaps quickly converted early pressure into a goal which was only equalled a minute short of the half-time whistle when a cross from Beckham found Gordon's head before the keeper could get to it. Gordon headed the ball into an open net giving the Galaxy some hope for the second half.
Galaxy failed to capitalise on this chance to get some purchase on the game, and hopefully we can blame a poor playing surface for the inaccurate passing and general low level of play from both sides. What should have been a clash of teams representing the MLS against the USL-1 took on the appearance of a game at a much lower level, with passes going astray and players seemingly not able to control the ball at their feet. Even Beckham was clearly struggling to place a pass or a cross and was substituted in the 75th minute having only got one decent ball into the box (including a disappointing free kick which failed even to rise above the wall) in the entire second half.
Significantly, ice was applied to Beckhams right foot which would explain why he was mis-firing with almost every touch of the ball. I winced when I saw the tackle last week in which his right foot was blocked sending him tumbling into the air. I would not be surprised to learn that there may be a significant injury here, with the England vs USA game just two weeks away....
Beckham must allow time for injuries to heal properly if he wants to be able to finish his career in style otherwise he could go out with a disappointing whimper rather than a bang.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

New York Red Bulls 2 LA Galaxy1

After having a header disallowed in the opening minutes, Alan Gordon finds the net again for The Galaxy equalising against New York, but Juan Pablo Angel responded almost immediately to put New York back in front. Despite Galaxy having much of the play and putting the Red Bulls on the back foot, they couldn't convert their other chances.
Beckham was in the thick of things picking up a yellow card for an overly-strong challenge, showing that he is still highly motivated and displaying enthusiasm and a good level of fitness. The Galaxy probably deserved something from the game, but their league position remained unchanged even after the loss.
Next up is an exhibition match against Vancouver on Tuesday before facing Dallas next Sunday

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

England must make semi's

The BBC announced today that the English FA have asked that Capello delivers on reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup or Euro 2012 - (presumably this was agreed before his appointment last year...). If this were to happen in 2010, then it would be England's best performance in 14 years as they have not reached the semi's of a major tournament since Terry Venables took the team to the semi-final of Euro '96 (and that was on home soil...).

The highs of that tournament were the fabulous volley from Paul Gascoigne against the Scots, and the 4-1 win against Holland. The lows were Gascoigne's celebration of the same goal....and losing to Germany on penalties...

The FA has also revealed taking its plans for the National Football Centre at Burton out of mothballs and dusting them off to have it up and running in two years time, and plans to install an 'International Performance Director' overseeing all national teams apart from the Mens Senior team.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Real Salt Lake 2 LA Galaxy 2

Steve Cronin had a busy night and came under pressure twice within the opening minutes as Salt Lake seemingly cut open the Galaxy defence with just too much ease. The first and second chances fell to Fabian Espindola, while we were still pondering how he missed the first chance, he was in again and made no mistake with the second. Galaxy were down and offered little resistance as Salt lake consolidated their lead with a second after 20 mins. Beckham was playing too deep and long balls were finding no-one up front.
Despite this, and against the run of play, the magic of Beckham was on display and he effortlessly put the ball over the Salt lake keepers head from the edge of the box for the first comeback goal in the 36th minute. A re-enlivened (or maybe just an enlivened) Galaxy took to the task and began to threaten the Salt lake goal. A free kick and a trade-mark Beckham goal sealed a 2 - 2 draw on 40 minutes. Chances fell to both sides in the second half with Steve Cronin keeping his team in the game, Gordon disappointed with two clear chances wasted for the Galaxy and the game finished honors even...
Two more goals takes Beckham's seasons tally up to 3, and the Beckham-effect is finally coming into the MLS. It is evident that Beckham is still a major draw to fans of all sides and the start to this season is certainly shaping up better than the disappointing end to last season in that respect.
Players like Beckham can perform better when there is something at stake, and having the lousy start in the MLS has given Beckham something to prove - history shows us that when he has something to prove, and when the chips are down, he will deliver and that is why he can still form a vital part of the England squad.