Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Early Bath for Becks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Early Bath for Becks

Article excerpt


AS ENGLAND'S World Cup squad set off today for five days of sun, sand and emotional bonding in Dubai, their Arab hosts were lining up everything the team could possibly want - including a bath for captain David Beckham's foot.

The players are expected to spend their mornings training at the local stadium, part of the Dubai Police Officers' Club. Despite the name, it is no mere coppers' football pitch. It boasts two gyms, a swimming pool, an Olympic standard athletics track - and a state of the art physiotherapy clinic.

There, in the hydrotherapy unit, Beckham will have a choice of whirlpool massage baths to speed the recovery of his injured foot - one to lie in and one just to bathe his leg.

England would be hard pressed to find themselves in better hands.

The Dubai police give the impression of all being football crazy - the officer in charge is a former club player who will be cheering on England, and his right-hand man used to play for the United Arab Emirates under Don Revie.

"How is Beckham's foot?" asked Brigadier Mohammad Hussain Ali, who runs the stadium. "Is it cured yet?"

He watches Premiership games on satellite television and is remarkably well informed about English football. His favourite player is not Beckham, however, but Michael Owen. "He is very good," he said.

Ever the discreet host, he said he would be supporting England when the World Cup starts, chiefly on the grounds that there is no one else to back.

"Saudi Arabia don't have a chance," he said.

There was no doubt today that the arrival of the England team is being treated like a royal visit by the Dubai police.

The city's force have begun a round-the-clock operation with security so tight that each player and his family are to have personal bodyguards at their hotel and at the police club. …

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