Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Beckham: It Is a New Era

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Beckham: It Is a New Era

Article excerpt


DAVID BECKHAM said today that Sven-Goran Eriksson had brought "an exciting new era for the English game".

As the England captain prepared for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Albania he warned against complacency following the amazing 5-1 victory over Germany in Munich on Saturday.

Beckham, who said he will be fit to start at St James' Park despite feeling a little stiff in training following his groin injury, was confident they could top Group Nine and qualify for the World Cup finals next summer.

Speaking this afternoon at the team's Northumberland base, he said: "We still have to do the business against Albania but after two massive wins in the past two qualifiers we are confident we can do the business. It doesn't matter whether we win 1-0 or 5-0, just that we win.

"It is a very young team but there is a great freshness about us. The Holland defeat was a learning experience and it allowed us to look at the way that we can play at home and away and that helped us achieve something special in Munich."

Beckham, who said he had been mobbed while shopping in Newcastle yesterday, added: "If we don't do the business on Wednesday the Germany game will mean nothing."

He also insisted that the England squad were totally united.

"Too much was made of the rivalry between players of different clubs but we all get on.

We love each other."

The 26-year-old added that he will consider he has failed if he does not lift the World Cup as captain. He said that the job now means so much to him that he wants it for the rest of his career.

Indeed, he reckoned he would rather not play for England at all if his captain's armband was taken away from him.

Beckham said the joy of leading England on Saturday had reminded him that "I want to keep that feeling for the rest of my career. I want to stay captain for the rest of my career. I wouldn't like to play for England and not be captain because once you've been skipper the feeling is unbelievable.

"I just love the responsibility of it. I'll see it as a failure if I've ended my career as England captain without having lifted a trophy. …

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