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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 06:48 GMT
Owen Hargreaves column
BBC columnist Owen Hargreaves
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

David Beckham's decision to leave Real Madrid for America caused a bit of shock in some quarters.

However, it was not a surprise to me at all. If you look at Becks and what he has achieved at Manchester United and Real Madrid I think this is a good step for him.

I have played with him for a number of years and one thing about him is he loves a challenge.

He showed that when he left Manchester United for Real Madrid. He went to Spain to experience how football is abroad.

I think it is commendable that people take on these new challenges rather than sticking with a comfortable situation.

Becks still wants to achieve a lot in his career and has set himself goals - this is probably one of them.

David Beckham
Not many people could have withstood what he has gone through

I am close to Becks but it is not something we have discussed before - he had a contract with Real after all.

But what he brings to a league that is not that popular at the moment is a big name and he is going to be hugely influential.

It also opens the door for others to go over there and play and I am sure you will see some other star players commit their future to MLS.

There are a lot of players who have gone to play in Qatar or Dubai but personally I think it would be more interesting to be a part of something potentially big being built.

There is a lot of potential there, it just needs people like Becks to promote it.

He is going to be a massive figure, not only in football circles over there but the sporting world. I think he will create a lot of excitement that will be good for the league.

He already has that profile in the rest of the world.

A lot of people in North America - such as my parents who went to Canada from England - have moved there from around the world, like the Italians, Spanish or South Americans.

They are football fans because they grew up with it, so there is an audience there for football.

Everyone knows Becks, whether they are a football fan or not.

So he is going to bring a lot more people to the games and a bigger fan base, not just the football enthusiasts or the kids but being global he will appeal for a lot of people.

The league has a lot to offer but at the moment it cannot compete with the European leagues financially, but when that changes it will be very interesting to other players.

Towards the end of my career I could definitely see myself playing over there. It would be interesting especially as I grew up in North America and certainly something to think about.

Becks has had his share of ups and downs over the years but in sports there has never been a player that has constantly gone up and up.

What is so commendable is how he has come back from difficult times - there are a lot of people who have not.

People will be saying that this is the end of his England career but in football anything is possible.

It was only a few months ago that he was at the World Cup. But it comes down to what the team needs or what the manager picks.

Everyone knows when they watch Becks he still has a lot to offer, but it is difficult because there is such a great group of young talents coming through like Aaron Lennon - competition for places is so tough.

It has been different not having Becks around the England squad since the World Cup because he was part of the set-up for so long. He was such an influential figure, but now he is not there and the team needs to move on.

In football you do not always play with the same team. Injuries and suspensions happen so you get used to not having the same team and a good side needs to adapt.

David Beckham
Beckham has been made an outcast by Madrid
John Terry has stepped up to be the captain and has done a good job so far.

I was a bit surprised by Real's announcement that Becks will not play for them again.

A contract is a contract - it is their decision what they want to do but it is possibly the first time I have heard of such a move.

Players coming to the end of their contract are allowed to sign a contract with any club in January - that is the rule.

At Bayern, Hasan Salihamidzic has just signed a deal with Juventus and I am sure he will play some games for us for the rest of the season

So only Real know the reasons for that but it seems a bit spiteful.

For Becks this is a new challenge and a new chapter. For anybody that doubts him, I predict Becks will probably have the last laugh.

I admire him for everything he has achieved and the way he has handled it - not many people could have withstood what he has gone through.

It takes a unique person and that is why he is a good example for people to look up to. I have had nothing but great experiences with him.


Were there any other teams interested apart from Bayern Munich when you started playing football and if there was why did you decide to go to Bayern Munich?
Ebrahim, England

It was a coincidence more than anything. When I was 13 growing up in Calgary I had a coach who worked in the former East Germany. When the wall came down he came over to Canada. He thought I had potential and said if I continued to grow and develop that he would call his contacts in Germany. At 15 I went over for a trial at Bayern Munich. They were the first club and I had trials planned at Cologne and Leverkusen but Bayern decided to keep me and that was that.

Which players in world football do you admire? And which do you model your game on?
James, England

As a kid you try and model your game on people but it is a bit different as I am turning 26 in a few days. But I have so much respect for so many players in the game today. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are two complete midfield players, I love the way Wayne Rooney plays with no fear and attacks. Lionel Messi is a wonderful player, in fact you could go through the whole Barcelona team. Kaka is a fine midfielder and Cristiano Ronaldo is possibly the best individual player in Europe at the moment. Those are the players that stick out.

I want to congratulate you after having a very strong World Cup, I would love to see you in the Premiership. Two questions: 1: What would be your ideal position to play for club and country? 2: When growing up who was your idol?
Craig Sharman, England

Growing up in Canada my idol was my dad and then my brother - I played football because they did and I followed them wherever they went. There wasn't a lot of football on TV and that's why I wear number 23 because of Michael Jordan - he was such an influence in North American sports. I grew up watching him and he was the big icon at the time. My best position is as a holding midfielder - that central midfield position helping out defensively, getting the ball back and making plays. That's the position I have been trained in through the youth team at Bayern and that is the position I have played my best games in for Bayern and England. That is the position where I think my future lies.

What kind of things do you do in your spare time?
Kolow, England

I watch a lot of the NBA - I was in Phoenix over Christmas and watched a game over there. I follow the Phoenix Suns because my friend Steve Nash plays for them. It used to be the Chicago Bulls but Michael Jordan doesn't play there any more. I watch a lot of television - things like CSI and that sort of stuff, and comedies like The Office. I spend a lot of time in hotels and on the road so I watch a lot of DVDs on my laptop, listen to a lot of music and I like to read a good book. And I like to go for late dinners.

I'm a huge fan of yours though I support Arsenal. Since you are playing in the land of automobile excellence, which cars do you own and what is your dream car?
Marvin Oyoo, Nairobi, Kenya

We have Audi as a sponsor so I have a Q7 jeep and I have a Porsche as well. I'm lucky I have a big car for when it's snowing and a quick sports car when I'm on my own and go to the city and things. I'm happy with those two - I never expected to drive a Porsche so I'm pretty happy about that. I don't really have a dream car. I drive on the Autobahn all the time where you can go as fast you want. But I'm not a ridiculous driver.

Hey Owen, I was wondering which team did you support when you were a kid?
Thomas Zaqueu, Mozambique

I used to watch a show called Soccer Saturday on TV in Canada. It came on at 7am because of the time difference and at the time Liverpool were the big team with Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler and John Barnes. We only had one game every Saturday and it was always the big team so I grew up watching a lot of Liverpool. I was a big Steve McManaman fan as a kid.

  • Every week Owen will be answering a selection of your questions in his column. So, using the postform at the top of this column on the right, send us your questions and we will put some of them to the England international.

    Send Owen your questions using this form and read his answers to a selection of them next week
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    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

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