13 August, 2006

Football: Sven Gone, Beckham Out (Good Riddance?)

Friday: smiling Steve McLaren names his first England squad.

There's a number of possible reasons for David Beckham's exclusion from the England squad to face Greece next week.

He's not very good: Beckham is one paced, cannot tackle or head. He cannot read the game, commits too many petulant fouls and gets too many yellow and red cards for a supposedly influential midfielder. On the plus side, he is still one of the best free kick specialists in the world (by far the best Englishman) and can deliver great crosses, albeit with decreasing frequency. Not even his greatest detractors could forget 10 years of loyal and occasionally brilliant service, 94 caps, 17 goals, ::cough:: 2 red cards.

Form: His World Cup performance was poor, despite his winner against Ecuador and a couple of "assists". Too often he drifted out of the game. His lack of pace showed and those assists apart his delivery into the box was erratic.

Age: This shouldn't be an issue, as he'’s just 31. For crissakes, Phil Neville's in the squad.

Injuries: Beckham ended the World Cup on a stretcher and is far from match fit.

The new coach: McLaren wants to stamp his mark on the team. What better way to distinguish himself from the discredited Sven Goran Eriksson.

Beckham wanted out: Resignation from the captaincy after the World Cup gave McLaren an excuse to drop Becks. The captain probably didn't want to "retire" from international football a failure. At the same time, with Eriksson gone his automatic selection was jeopardised.

Whatever the reason - or combination of the above -– Donutball is glad to see England move forward minus it’s overrated, inconsistent and one-paced liability. But, don't be surprised if Coach Steve makes the call to the ex-captain later in the season.

Meanwhile, Terry Venables as assistant coach? WTF?


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