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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 09:44 GMT
Owen Hargreaves column
Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

I saw David Beckham in the tunnel at the Bernabeu in Madrid on Tuesday for the first time since the World Cup.

David Beckham (left) tangles with Owen Hargreaves
Without David Beckham in the team I do not think that Real Madrid would have beaten Bayern Munich

A lot of people had been speculating that David would be playing in a holding midfield role for Real Madrid and I asked him whether it was true.

I was to play in the middle of the park for Bayern and obviously our paths would cross a lot more during the match if we were directly opposed to each other.

It would have been great to play against him but he said he was playing on the right.

Nevertheless, I managed to speak to David several times during the game and shared some banter with Ruud van Nistelrooy as well.

I am not a very controversial footballer, who has on-field arguments or finds himself in fights, but when the opportunity arises I do like to share a joke.

It was a tense atmosphere on Tuesday and every player was very focused. I think that players sometimes need a moment's respite from the intensity.

Before such a big game I try to relax during the day by watching a DVD or reading a book.

When we move to within a few hours of kick-off I try to visualise the game and really prepare myself mentally.

At this level most of the game is mental.

The bigger the game, the better my concentration. By the time the match starts I am generally quite relaxed and feeling confident.

There is a lot about a game that you cannot control but I think you can control the way you present yourself - your body language and your emotions.

A lot of players have ability and talent but I think success often comes down to those people who can push themselves and find a way to win - especially when it is not going well.

Bayern trailed 3-1 at half-time on Tuesday but played well after the break. In the end we lost 3-2 - and have two potentially valuable away goals.

This is all about reaction - how successfully we adapted ourselves to the flow of the game.

Tactics are very important but what it comes down to is who wants to win the most

Tactics are very important but what it comes down to is who wants to win the most, who has the most desire, who is prepared to expend the most energy.

I thought that David was the best player on the pitch during the first half of the match.

I try to block the noise out during a game but there was one point during the opening 45 minutes when he had several great moments and then prepared to take a free-kick.

As he stood over the ball I suddenly heard this wall of sound chanting "Beckham, Beckham, Beckham".

Even though he was a member of the opposition I was pleased for him.

It was such a big game involving many top class players - and it says a lot about someone who can stand out in such company.

Without him in the team I do not think that Real would have won the game - and our job at Bayern would have been much easier.

He is a resilient person with such a lot to offer and anyone who doubts him clearly does not know him very well.

After the game we swapped shirts.

I told him that I thought he played well and wished him well with his move to the LA Galaxy.

He said that he was looking forward to it but hoped to see me in Munich for the second leg before that.

I have quite a few shirts now - and several have come from Becks.

When I first arrived in Europe, Beckham was one of the players that I modelled myself on - but his shirts do not yet hang on the wall.

I am always on the road and spend so much time in hotels that I have not really thought about what to do with the shirts that I have swapped over the years.

At the moment they are tucked away in a box but I'm sure that at some point in the future I will have them framed.

By the way, for those of you who have asked whether I would wash a shirt after swapping it with a player the answer is a definite yes!


Do you think a defensive wall is a help or hindrance for goalkeepers given the speed and accuracy of shots?
Dan Kershaw, Germany

This is a good question.

I take a lot of free-kicks in training and if there is not a wall it is sometimes more difficult because you do not have something to focus on. With a wall in place you know what you have to hit the ball over.

But given some of the set-piece players in world football I think a wall is crucial.

We played a game without using a wall at Bayern once.

Bayern were away at Leverkusen and Oliver Kahn said he did not need one but we did not do it again because they scored from a free-kick.

Growing up, which NHL team did you support and why?
Chetan, USA

I grew up in the hockey-mad city of Calgary but I was never really into the sport all that much.

I love football and was more attracted to the NBA than hockey.

That said, I did support the Calgary Flames as a kid.

Hi Owen, I was wondering how much you actually hear from the sidelines?
Carl Gould, Keele, UK.

Not much - very little at the most.

If you are on the near touchline to the dugout you might have a chance but if you are in the middle of the pitch or out on the far touchline you don't have a chance.

In games like Tuesday's at Madrid you cannot hear anything.

There is some speculation about you leaving Germany, if you were to leave, what aspects of German culture/life would you miss?
Rob Allen, Scotland

I absolutely love Munich.

All the family and friends who have visited me in Munich have fallen in love with the city.

It has fantastic restaurants and cafes and within one hour's drive you are in Austria.

The city is surrounded by nearby lakes and mountains. It is very centrally located - and has everything you would want without being too big.

Hey Owen, I love the column. What kind of music do you listen to?
Sailesh, India

I mostly listen to R&B. I really like R Kelly and had some songs of his on my ipod before the match on Tuesday.

I like rap music and hip-hop as well. I also think Nelly Furtado is a good artist.

I think as I have got older I have become more open-minded.

  • 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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    Real Madrid 3-2 Bayern Munich
    20 Feb 07 |  Europe


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