Beckham Is Back, but Should He Ever Have Gone? ; THE NICK TOWNSEND COLUMN
Townsend, Nick, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
So David Beckham, brusquely consigned to the waste-bin of international football, has been recycled. It would be easy to be cynical about Steve McClaren's U-turn. So let's not disappoint anyone.
What we have is a man who after the World Cup was told that he had no further place in his country's affections. Now he is being welcomed back for England's first game at the new Wembley, a friendly against Brazil on Friday, followed by a European Championship qualifier, with the England coach claiming: "He's a big- game player. Someone who can help us win in Estonia. [Real Madrid's coach Fabio] Capello believes he should be back in the fold, and I do too."
Pass that by me again. "Big-game" and "Estonia" would not normally share the same sentence - unlike the fixtures against Israel and Croatia, when Beckham (above) was omitted. All very strange.
Just as Beckham should not have continued to receive the patronage of Sven Goran Eriksson - as player or captain - when his form and leadership didn't justify it, so McClaren did himself no favours by jettisoning a performer who, as recent Real performances have demonstrated, remains worthy of a place in any England squad. …